The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) has released a report stating that 17 countries in the Americas, most of them Caribbean islands, have provided data showing they may have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

The report ‘Elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis in the Americas, Update 2015’ which was released yesterday states that the reported dual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis accounts for 34 per cent of all births in the region.

According to the report, which presents data from 52 countries, the 17 territories reporting the progress were: 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, and the US and British Virgin Islands.

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, while Congenital syphilis is considered eliminated when no more than 5 of every 10,000 infants are born with the disease.

This year, 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.

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