In a huge win for world health, Cuba has become the first country ever to receive validation from the World Health Organization for ending mother-to-child HIV and syphilis transmissions. An estimated 1.4 million women with HIV and 1 million women with syphilis give birth every year. Children born from a mother with HIV have 15-45% chance of being infected with the virus. Syphilis can cause death in fetuses or leave children with horrible neonatal infections.

Cuba has been working for many years to end the mother-to-child transmission of these infections. WHO reports, “the country has worked to ensure early 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.” Not only are they ensuring access to this care, but it is affordable too, making the treatment truly accessible.

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WHO continues to work with other countries to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis. WHO paired with UNAIDS in 2011 to create the Global Plan. The Global Plan is an initiate hoping to end HIV in children by 2015.  In 2007, WHO also started the "Global elimination of congenital syphilis: rationale and strategy for action."

Hopefully other countries will take Cuba as inspiration and become more serious about ending mother-to-child transmission of syphilis and HIV. Cuba has proved it can done with hard work and dedication. 

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Read the full press release here.

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