WHO, Caribbean Countries End Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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WHO has supported several countries to prevent HIV and other communicable diseases from being passed from mother to child during pregnancy, labor, delivery or breastfeeding.

In December 2017, six Caribbean countries joined this group, successfully ending mother-to-child transmission of both HIV and syphilis.

1 December 2017: The World Health Organization (WHO) has supported several countries to prevent HIV and other communicable diseases from being passed from mother to child during pregnancy, labor, delivery or breastfeeding. Six Caribbean countries have joined this group, successfully ending mother-to-child transmission of both HIV and syphilis, WHO reported in December 2017.

Without intervention, 15-45% OF HIV-positive mothers transmit HIV to their children. Medical interventions to prevent transmission include providing antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for the mother and a short course of ARV drugs for the baby, prevention of HIV acquisition in pregnant women and appropriate breastfeeding practices.

In 2014, WHO published ‘Guidance on global processes and criteria for validation of elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis,’ and a second edition was released in 2017. Beginning in 2015, several countries, including Armenia, Belarus, Cuba and Thailand, successfully eliminated transmission one or both of the illnesses.

The six Caribbean countries to join their ranks, as certified by the WHO on 1 December 2017, are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. [WHO Press Release] [Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Press Release] [Global Guidance on criteria and processes for validation: Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis, 2nd Edition]

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