Six Caribbean states eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV, syphilis

Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris.
Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris.

Six Caribbean states — Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and St. Kitts — have been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as having eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

This was revealed by St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris who said the elimination is the result of the strong political commitment to public health and of making the health of mothers, children and families a regional priority.

He said this is an amazing achievement given the high rates of HIV in the past and “we intend to improve on this success story even more in the future.”

Over the last six years the Caribbean has succeeded in reducing new HIV infections in children by more than half.

Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and regional director of the Americas of WHO, Carissa Etienne said in a statement to mark World Aids Day; “This elimination is a remarkable achievement that puts the Americas at the forefront of the global effort to ensure that no child is born with HIV or congenital syphilis. With political commitment, stronger health systems and timely prevention, diagnosis and treatment, we can achieve great changes.”

UNAIDS has congratulated the six states and territories on this important achievement, said Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS.

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