The World Health Organisation has validated Cuba as the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis.
Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General said in a statement Tuesday that: “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.”
“Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible,” she noted.
According to a UNAIDS advisory Monday, mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis is almost entirely preventable.
In recent years, WHO and PAHO have made considerable efforts to ensure that women with HIV receive the treatment they need to stay well and to prevent their babies from being born with HIV or syphilis.
Cuba is the first country in the world to request that WHO validate its elimination of mother-to-child (“vertical”) transmission of HIV and syphilis, the advisory said.
The validation process included, among other steps, the preparation of a national report and the visit to Cuba of a regional committee of independent experts which presented its report to a WHO global committee, UNAIDS explained. The global committee met last week to analyze that report.
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, added: “This is a celebration for Cuba and a celebration for children and families everywhere. It shows that ending the AIDS epidemic is possible and we expect Cuba to be the first of many countries coming forward to seek validation that they have ended their epidemics among children.”