Cuba Eliminates Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV & Syphilis

posted: 07/01/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Blood samples in laboratory

Cuba is officially the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, the World Health Organization announced today.

According to the WHO, Cuba's universal health system ensures that women have access to "prenatal care, HIV and syphilis testing for both pregnant women and their partners, treatment for women who test positive and their babies, caesarean deliveries and substitution of breastfeeding".

"Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible," said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. "This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation" she added.

Since 2007, WHO has been working to eliminate congenital syphilis. Although 95% of women infected with syphilis in 40 countries received prenatal care, the bacteria still infected 360,000 newborn babies.

In the past five years, the number of children born with HIV worldwide has nearly halved, due in large part to increased availability of antiretroviral medicines.

WHO notes that all services are "provided free of coercion and in accordance with human rights principles".

Click here for more information from the World Health Organization

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