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Thailand becomes first country to eliminate mother-child transmission of HIV

File photo. According to Thailand’s ministry of public health, 98% of all pregnant women living with HIV have access to treatment. The rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country is less than 2%. Photo: ReutersPremium
File photo.
According to Thailand’s ministry of public health, 98% of all pregnant women living with HIV have access to treatment. The rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country is less than 2%.
Photo: Reuters

In 2015, the number of children in Thailand infected with HIV transmitted from the mother declined to 85 as compared to 1,000 in the year 2000

New Delhi: Thailand has become the first country in Asia to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, ensuring an AIDS-free generation. The country received validation for this from the World Health Organisation on Tuesday.

Elimination of transmission is defined as a reduction of transmission to such a low level that it no longer constitutes a public health problem. An international expert mission convened by WHO visited Thailand in April 2016 to validate the progress toward the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

In 2000, an estimated 1,000 children were infected with HIV transmitted from the mother. In 2015, this number declined to 85, a fall of more than 90%.

“By investing in strong maternal and child health care and national AIDS prevention measures, Thailand has demonstrated there are ways to protect children from the global AIDS pandemic response," said Karin Hulshof, regional director, Unicef East Asia-Pacific Region.

Thailand has a high number of HIV infected persons. In 2014, an estimated 450, 000 people were living with HIV in the country.

According to Thailand’s ministry of public health, 98% of all pregnant women living with HIV have access to treatment. The rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country is less than 2%.

Untreated, women living with HIV have a 15-45% chance of transmitting the virus to their children during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding. However, if proper treatment is given to both mother and child throughout the stages when infection can occur, that risk drops to just over 1%.

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