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Good news on the battle with HIV and Syphilis transmission between mother and baby

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Good news! Cuba eliminates Mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis


A report published today (1 July 2015) by BBC (British Broadcasting Corp) News has stated that Cuba has successfully eliminated transmission of HIV and Syphilis from mother-to-child (otherwise known as vertical transmission. Read more

The claims have been backed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and has been described as one of the ‘Greatest public health achievements possible’.

This hasn’t been an overnight revelation. It has taken many years of research as well as huge effort to give pregnant women early access to prenatal care, disease testing and medication to halt the transmission from mother to child.

The report states that approximately every year 1.4 million women living with HIV become pregnant (global figures). Without treatment these women have a 15-45% chance to pass HIV onto their child during pregnancy, labour, the delivery, or even through breastfeeding. This risk is significantly reduced to approximately 1% if treatment for HIV (antiretroviral medication) is given to both mother and baby.

In addition the above figures, approximately 1 million pregnant women are also infected with syphilis and the report shows that early screening and treatment can avoid problems for their unborn child.


Latest available data shows that Cuba has reduced the infection rate of HIV from mother to child to less than 2% which is deemed the lowest possible rate with available preventative measures.

There are 22 countries that account for 90% of new HIV infections and the report states 8 of these have reduced the infection rate of HIV among children to less than 50% since 2009. Four more countries are approaching this benchmark figure.

As of 2014 over 40 countries were achieving and impressive figure of testing more than 95% of pregnant women in pre-natal care for syphilis.

In conclusion


What Cuba has achieved is impressive and all countries should strive for these results. The most important point in managing vertical transmission of HIV and syphilis is to get testing and treatment early. Of course this means that amenities have to be easy to access, readily available and affordable. But if this can be achieved we are taking a big step forward in the battle against HIV and syphilis.

Read the BBC article here http://www.bbc.com/news/health-33334245


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