HIV/Aids WHO hails Thailand as first Asian nation to wipe out mother-to-child spread

WHO noted that Thai Ministry of Public Health said the rate of HIV transmission from pregnant mothers to their newborns in Thailand declined from 10.3 per cent in 2003 to 1.91 per cent in 2015.

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WHO hails Thailand as first Asian nation to wipe out mother-to-child HIV spread play

WHO hails Thailand as first Asian nation to wipe out mother-to-child HIV spread

(Telegraph)
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday in Geneva hailed Thailand as the first country in Asia to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

It describing the elimination as a remarkable achievement, as Thailand had demonstrated to the world that HIV can be defeated.

WHO noted that Thai Ministry of Public Health said the rate of HIV transmission from pregnant mothers to their newborns in Thailand declined from 10.3 per cent in 2003 to 1.91 per cent in 2015.

It said the figure was validated to meet WHO criteria for elimination of mother-to-child transmission rates of less than 2 per cent and fewer than 50 new infections in 100,000 births.

Daniel Kertesz, WHO Representative to Thailand, said the announcement marked the first time with one of Asia's most HIV-ravaged societies to eradicate mother-to-child transmission of the diseases. In 2014, an estimated 450,000 people were living with HIV in Thailand.

"The achievement came from Thailand's strong prenatal care from large cities all the way to the poorest villages.

"Nearly all pregnant Thai women are screened for HIV, 95 per cent of those who test positive are treated to prevent transmission to their babies.

"Almost 100 per cent of babies born to HIV-positive mothers are given antiretroviral drugs,’’ he said.

Kertesz said HIV is passed from mother to child either in the womb or during labor, delivery or breastfeeding, and if untreated, there is a 15-45 per cent chance of the baby inheriting HIV from its mother.

"When treatment is given in the form of antiretroviral medicine crucial stages, that chance is reduced to 1 percent.

"Thailand is one of only a few countries that have broadened universal healthcare to include migrant women, making prevention of mother-to-child transmission affordable for everyone,’’ he said.

There are hundreds of thousands of migrant women from neighbouring countries working in Thailand.

Cuba was the first country to receive the validation last year.

Along with Thailand, Belarus eliminated the mother-to-child spread of HIV and syphilis, Armenia did for HIV and Moldova did for syphilis. 

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