Significant decline in number of Latin American babies with HIV

The number of Latin American babies born with HIV has declined by 78 percent, confirmed the World Health Organization (WHO) in the “Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis” in the Americas report this month. The decline is heralded as a huge success toward the region’s 2015 goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV and congenital syphilis to under 2 percent. SEE ALSO: HIV and AIDS experts analyze reports of cured baby “Ensuring that all children in the Americas are born HIV-free is possible, and countries have already made progress toward that goal,” Massimo Ghidinelli, from the WHO’s STI unit, told telesur. “We need a final push to ensure that 100 percent of pregnant women have access to sexual and reproductive health services, including HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment, which can save their lives and reduce the chances of transmitting the virus to their babies.” Avert reports 93 percent of pregnant women in Latin America attended at least one prenatal visit in 2013, with 87 percent attending four or more. Seventy-four percent of pregnant woman accessed counseling and testing for HIV, an 18 percent increase from 2001. Rate of Latin American babies with HIV drops Of the pregnant women living with HIV, 93 percent accessed antiretroviral treatment for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission during their pregnancy, a 59 percent increase from 2001. WHO data indicates reaching out to mothers with HIV awareness programs has decreased HIV transmission to children from 18 percent in 2010 to just five percent in 2013. Though a drastic improvement has been seen in the amount of women seeking prenatal care and sexual health appointments in Latin America, gaps in treatment still remain, preventing the region from hitting its goal of 95 percent syphilis testing coverage. Teenage girls also appear to be falling through the cracks, not meeting the rest of pregnant women in terms of prenatal–and therefore appropriate HIV–care. “The region of the Americas has strong health systems, and many women are accessing prenatal care not just once but four times,” said Chewe Luo, UNICEF’s top expert on HIV. She explain integrated HIV testing has done wonders for improving child transmission numbers, but not all women (particularly those who are young) are not seeking pregnancy care and therefore are missing important screenings. SEE ALSO: STDs you can get from anal sex Overall, nine countries in Latin America have reached their goal of reducing HIV transmission to children; 15 countries have eliminated congenital syphilis, and seven countries have eliminated syphilis as well as mother-to-child HIV transmission. Thirty-five countries still need to meet their goals, however, and WHO is redoubling efforts to help more nations reach their 2015 goal.The post Significant decline in number of Latin American babies with HIV appeared first on Voxxi.

The number of babies born with HIV has declined significantly in Latin America. (Shutterstock)

The number of Latin American babies born with HIV has declined by 78 percent, confirmed the World Health Organization (WHO) in the “Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis” in the Americas report this month.

The decline is heralded as a huge success toward the region’s 2015 goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV and congenital syphilis to under 2 percent.

SEE ALSO: HIV and AIDS experts analyze reports of cured baby

“Ensuring that all children in the Americas are born HIV-free is possible, and countries have already made progress toward that goal,” Massimo Ghidinelli, from the WHO’s STI unit, told telesur. “We need a final push to ensure that 100 percent of pregnant women have access to sexual and reproductive health services, including HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment, which can save their lives and reduce the chances of transmitting the virus to their babies.”

Avert reports 93 percent of pregnant women in Latin America attended at least one prenatal visit in 2013, with 87 percent attending four or more. Seventy-four percent of pregnant woman accessed counseling and testing for HIV, an 18 percent increase from 2001.

Rate of Latin American babies with HIV drops

Of the pregnant women living with HIV, 93 percent accessed antiretroviral treatment for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission during their pregnancy, a 59 percent increase from 2001.

WHO data indicates reaching out to mothers with HIV awareness programs has decreased HIV transmission to children from 18 percent in 2010 to just five percent in 2013.

prenatal visits are important
Though more women in Latin America are having prenatal visits, gaps still persist. (Shutterstock)

Though a drastic improvement has been seen in the amount of women seeking prenatal care and sexual health appointments in Latin America, gaps in treatment still remain, preventing the region from hitting its goal of 95 percent syphilis testing coverage. Teenage girls also appear to be falling through the cracks, not meeting the rest of pregnant women in terms of prenatal–and therefore appropriate HIV–care.

“The region of the Americas has strong health systems, and many women are accessing prenatal care not just once but four times,” said Chewe Luo, UNICEF’s top expert on HIV.

She explain integrated HIV testing has done wonders for improving child transmission numbers, but not all women (particularly those who are young) are not seeking pregnancy care and therefore are missing important screenings.

SEE ALSO: STDs you can get from anal sex

Overall, nine countries in Latin America have reached their goal of reducing HIV transmission to children; 15 countries have eliminated congenital syphilis, and seven countries have eliminated syphilis as well as mother-to-child HIV transmission. Thirty-five countries still need to meet their goals, however, and WHO is redoubling efforts to help more nations reach their 2015 goal.

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The post Significant decline in number of Latin American babies with HIV appeared first on Voxxi.