Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Dr. Carissa Etienne says the Caribbean region could be the first to achieve the complete elimination of mother to child HIV transmission.
“We believe that the region can be one of the first to achieve elimination of HIV, certainly by 2030,” she said during a press conference at the Old APU Conference room at the Princess Margaret Hospital this week.
The PAHO Director added for this to happen there must be improvements in the areas of prevention and promotion, early diagnosis and access to treatment and monitoring.
Meantime, she is reporting that a mission will be sent to Dominica to conduct assessments before the elimination of the transmission of HIV and Syphilis is declared.
“We need to ensure the validation process that would certify that we have eliminated mother to child transmission,” she noted.
She said that the HIV Coordinator of Dominica informed that the island has reached the threshold for the declaration of elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and Syphilis.
“But for PAHO and World Health Organization (WHO), they will need to send a mission to all of the background checks and all of the background work that is necessary before we can declare that validate of this elimination has occurred,” Dr. Etienne pointed out. “This is a tremendous achievement for every country.”
In March of this year the Coordinator of the National HIV/AIDS Response Unit, Julie Frampton, said Dominica is reporting a rate of success in eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV for the last ten years or more.
“We have had no seroconversion, meaning that all the women that test positive for HIV during pregnancy were managed and the infants are all negative,” she said. “So we know that treatment works. So we do not want any women testing positive during pregnancy, far less to have a child confirmed positive.”
Frampton said health authorities in Dominica are “really looking forward to be able to eliminate mother to child transmission or being one of the first countries in the region to say we successfully eliminated mother to child transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis.”