Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Ends in Cuba

The happy family mother and baby daughter playing and laughing baby kissing in bed

There is definitive proof that we are getting another step closer to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Cuba officially became the first country to eliminate the transmission of the AIDS virus from mothers to children. An amazing step in the right direction!

This is a claim that a country can not make lightly. In order to make this declaration, the World Health Organization has several requirements. Cuba had to prove that they have had fewer than 50 children born with HIV infections out of every 100,000 births annually. A similar standard was also met by Cuba in regards to syphilis transmission.

So how is it possible for an HIV positive mother to not pass on the virus to her child? Health care has come leaps and bonds in this area. If mother and child do not get antiretroviral medicines, the chance of the child having HIV is anywhere from 15% to 45%. If mother and child are treated with the medicines however the chance drops dramatically to just over 1%.

In the United States, the numbers of HIV positive children has also dropped dramatically but currently it appears no WHO recognition has been requested. CDC statistics suggest that in 2010 only 162 children living with HIV under the age of 13 received the virus as a transmission from their mother at birth or during breastfeeding.