In an astonishing breakthrough for HIV research, the World Health Organisation has announced that Cuba has successfully beaten mother-to-baby HIV transmission.
The findings came after Cuba registered only 1-2 cases of paediatric HIV per year since 2012 – a percentage that was low enough for transmission to be considered eradicated.
This means that fewer than 2% of babies, born to HIV-positive parents, have been infected with the virus. This percentage, according to WHO, is the lowest possible rate achievable with current prevention means.
Cuba now holds the title of the world’s first country to eradicate the disease in paediatric cases.
Maria Isela Lantero, head of Cuba’s national STI/HIV/AIDS program states the achievement has been due to the overwhelmingly positive elimination strategy imposed by the country’s government; “accessible, free, universal health care system that enables us to reach everyone and ensure that they receive services to prevent these diseases.”
According to the pre-natal care team, all pregnant women at risk of transferring the disease, are given at least 10 pre-natal check-ups and offered rigorous testing, information and effective counselling.
“Cuba is showing the world that the health of mothers and newborns is a priority and that it is possible to stop the transmission of the HIV epidemic to new generations.” Marcos Espinal, Director, Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis, PAHO/WHO said in a statement.