Last updated: October 6, 2017 at 09:48 am
Two of the world’s major health organisations have confirmed that St Kitts and Nevis has become the first Eastern Caribbean nation to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmissions.
The two-island federation is also the first CARICOM member, and as the Americas joins only Cuba as having achieved the feat.
It was revealed in August 2016 that St Kitts and Nevis looked set to reach this major landmark, with Prime Minister Timothy Harris stating that this “significant achievement” meant the country was “top of the class”.
Transmission-free status has now been confirmed by the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organisation, who notified the government.
In the correspondence, WHO and PAHO stated that during a meeting of the Global Validation Advisory Committee, St Kitts and Nevis was validated as achieving the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
The WHO diagnoses mother-to-child transmission of HIV as the spread of HIV from an HIV-infected woman to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
Fight with HIV/AIDS continues
The elimination of mother-to-child is a remarkable achievement, putting St Kitts and Nevis among only a handful of English-speaking countries.
In the UK, a recent University College London study reported the proportion of pregnant woman passing on the virus to their babies at 0.27%.
The WHO has no comparable data for the United States.
St Kitts and Nevis’ prime minister said confirmation from the WHO and PAHO was “positive news”.
“I feel a sense of personal pride and satisfaction that St. Kitts and Nevis is a leader in this aspect.”
He added: “It doesn’t mean that all is well or perfect in our fight and battle with respect to HIV and other health issues.”