Categorized | News, Regional

Mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis eliminated in some Caribbean countries

by STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON, CMC – The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) says 17 countries and territories in the Americas, including the Caribbean, have supplied data indicating that they may have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

According to the report, “Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis in the Americas, Update 2015,” the 17 countries and territories reporting data consistent with dual elimination account for 34 percent of all births in the region. The countries are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Cuba, Dominica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saba, St, Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands.

“The countries of the Americas have made tremendous efforts to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV, cutting new infections by half since 2010,” said Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, the Dominican-born PAHA director. “We can do more to protect mothers and children to achieve a generation free of AIDS.”

In 2014, PAHO said 96 percent of pregnant women in Latin America and the Caribbean had at least one prenatal check-up, 75 percent were tested for HIV, and 81 percent of those needing treatment received it.

PAHO said these figures have increased by 2 percent, 21 percent, and 45 percent, respectively, since 2010, when PAHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) implemented the Regional Initiative for the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis in Latin America and the Caribbean to support countries with the elimination of these diseases.

If left untreated, PAHO said women living with HIV have a 15–45 percent chance of transmitting the virus to their babies during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.

If they receive treatment and have access to the recommended series of interventions during the stages in which the infection can occur, that risk falls to less than 2 percent, PAHO said.

With regard to syphilis, the report said screening of pregnant women in Latin America and the Caribbean has remained stable at around 80 percent since 2010, while the percentage of women treated ranged from 50 percent to 100 percent in the countries that supplied data.

In 2014, the report said 17,400 cases of congenital syphilis were reported in the 32 countries of the Americas that provided data to PAHO.

“Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is considered eliminated as a public health problem when a maximum of 2 in 100 children born to mothers with HIV contract the virus,” said PAHO, adding that congenital syphilis is considered eliminated when no more than 5 of every 10,000 infants are born with the disease.

PAHO said an estimated 30 percent of people with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean do not know they have the virus, and many are diagnosed when the disease is already in an advanced stage.

This year, the report said Cuba became the first country in the world to receive official WHO validation that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. An additional 16 countries are in a position to request validation.

PAHO said an estimated 2 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean are living with HIV, and there were about 100,000 new HIV infections in the region in 2014.

The vast majority of these infections were in adults and youths, mainly gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender women, and sex workers and their clients.

To put an end to AIDS as a public health problem by 2030, PAHO said the countries of the region, civil society, international cooperation, and people living with and affected by HIV set new ambitious goals last year.

The “90-90-90” HIV treatment target calls for ensuring that, by 2020, 90 percent of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV receive sustained antiviral therapy, and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy have undetectable viral load.

PAHO said an estimated 30 percent of people with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean do not know they have the virus, and many are diagnosed when the disease is already in an advanced stage.

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by STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON, CMC – The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) says 17 countries and territories in the Americas, including the Caribbean, have supplied data indicating that they may have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

According to the report, “Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis in the Americas, Update 2015,” the 17 countries and territories reporting data consistent with dual elimination account for 34 percent of all births in the region. The countries are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Cuba, Dominica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saba, St, Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands.

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“The countries of the Americas have made tremendous efforts to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV, cutting new infections by half since 2010,” said Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, the Dominican-born PAHA director. “We can do more to protect mothers and children to achieve a generation free of AIDS.”

In 2014, PAHO said 96 percent of pregnant women in Latin America and the Caribbean had at least one prenatal check-up, 75 percent were tested for HIV, and 81 percent of those needing treatment received it.

PAHO said these figures have increased by 2 percent, 21 percent, and 45 percent, respectively, since 2010, when PAHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) implemented the Regional Initiative for the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis in Latin America and the Caribbean to support countries with the elimination of these diseases.

If left untreated, PAHO said women living with HIV have a 15–45 percent chance of transmitting the virus to their babies during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.

If they receive treatment and have access to the recommended series of interventions during the stages in which the infection can occur, that risk falls to less than 2 percent, PAHO said.

With regard to syphilis, the report said screening of pregnant women in Latin America and the Caribbean has remained stable at around 80 percent since 2010, while the percentage of women treated ranged from 50 percent to 100 percent in the countries that supplied data.

In 2014, the report said 17,400 cases of congenital syphilis were reported in the 32 countries of the Americas that provided data to PAHO.

“Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is considered eliminated as a public health problem when a maximum of 2 in 100 children born to mothers with HIV contract the virus,” said PAHO, adding that congenital syphilis is considered eliminated when no more than 5 of every 10,000 infants are born with the disease.

PAHO said an estimated 30 percent of people with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean do not know they have the virus, and many are diagnosed when the disease is already in an advanced stage.

This year, the report said Cuba became the first country in the world to receive official WHO validation that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. An additional 16 countries are in a position to request validation.

PAHO said an estimated 2 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean are living with HIV, and there were about 100,000 new HIV infections in the region in 2014.

The vast majority of these infections were in adults and youths, mainly gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender women, and sex workers and their clients.

To put an end to AIDS as a public health problem by 2030, PAHO said the countries of the region, civil society, international cooperation, and people living with and affected by HIV set new ambitious goals last year.

The “90-90-90” HIV treatment target calls for ensuring that, by 2020, 90 percent of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV receive sustained antiviral therapy, and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy have undetectable viral load.

PAHO said an estimated 30 percent of people with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean do not know they have the virus, and many are diagnosed when the disease is already in an advanced stage.