The World Health Organization recently announced Cuba is the first country to have eliminated mother-to-child HIV transmission.
Officials hailed the achievement as a victory in the fight to end the AIDS epidemic and create a generation practically free of HIV, according to CNN
With the knowledge of AIDS and HIV growing and awareness of the diseases more present, births of children with the illness have dropped substantially. In 2013, 240,000 babies were born with HIV compared with 400,000 in 2009.
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For 2015, however, health officials have a goal of no more than 40,000 children being born HIV positive.
Here are some facts about the groundbreaking news:
While WHO describes the disease as being “eliminated,” that is not exactly the case.
WHO requires the nation to demonstrate it has less than 50 infections per 100,000 live births for at least one year, according to The Guardian
. In 2013, two babies were born with HIV in Cuba.
An initiative led by WHO and the Pan American Health Organization to decrease mother-to-child transmission brought greater access to antiretroviral drugs in the Caribbean, leading to the accomplishment.
Without treatment, there is a 15 percent to 45 percent chance of passing HIV to a newborn. If HIV drugs are taken before and after giving birth, and if the child also receives medicines, the risk of transmission decreases to about one percent, NBC News reported
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Cuba was the first country to ask for the certification, according to The New York Times
. Since then 20 other countries have made requests to be evaluated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 162 children in the United States, which typically does not seek out WHO certification, were infected at birth in 2010, NBC News reported.
Since the 1980s, Cuba has suppressed the spread of HIV through forced quarantine and widespread testing and treatment. The government gives basic health care to all citizens.
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