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Important achievement against AIDS in the Caribbean certified

Washington, May 7 (Prensa Latina) The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will hold today a ceremony to certify the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis in Belize, Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

To honor and celebrate this milestone, PAHO, together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and UNAIDS will lead a high-level ceremony recognizing the extraordinary efforts of these countries.

The event will also serve to champion the continued commitment to the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission plus initiative, within the broader framework of the elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EPTCT) program.

UNAIDS will officially certify this achievement, signaling to the world that ending pediatric HIV and syphilis is indeed possible.

In September 2010, PAHO member states unanimously approved the Strategy and Action Plan for the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis in this region.

Following the approval of the Strategy and Action Plan, Caribbean countries and territories began implementing interventions to strengthen HIV and syphilis primary prevention and treatment services within maternal and child health services, an ongoing process.

The overall objective of the expansion of services was to move towards certification of the elimination of the two conditions, ensuring an HIV- and syphilis-free generation.

After strengthening primary prevention and treatment services in 2023, Belize, and Jamaica, along with St. Vincent and the Grenadines, achieved WHO certification to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis by early 2024.

Cuba became in June 2015 the first country in the world to receive validation by the World Health Organization (WHO) for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

On that occasion the then director general of the UN health agency Margaret Chan stated that the elimination of transmission of a virus is one of the greatest possible achievements in public health and called it a major victory in the long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards an AIDS-free generation.

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