Thailand has become the first country in Asia to have been officially certified free of the transmission of HIV AIDS and syphilis to children from their mothers.
The country is also amongst the first worldwide, where the HIV transmission rate from pregnant mothers to their newborn infants is now below two percent, according to the statement released on the official UNICEF website.
According to the Ministry of Public Health, the mother-to-child HIV transmission in the country has gone down to 1.91 percent in 2015, far from the 10.3 percent rate it had in 2003.
Moreover, based on a validation process that was performed from December 2014 to April 2016, Thailand has met the criteria for the elimination of HIV and congenital syphilis in line with universal goals.
The World Health Organization (WHO) remarked that the elimination is a “remarkable achievement,” and that the country has “demonstrated to the world that HIV can be defeated.”
Besides Thailand, Cuba is the only other country to have eradicated the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children under the criteria of the organization.
Thailand’s success in stopping the transmission of the virus to new generations was due to its routine screening and universal free medication for pregnant women who had the virus, in particular, the taking of antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy.
The country was one of the first countries worldwide to offer free antiretroviral medication to all pregnant women who were diagnosed with the virus in year 2000.
The number of babies born with HIV went from 1,000 to 85 last year, which was more than enough for the WHO to declare that the mother-to-child HIV transmission in Thailand to be over.
“Thailand’s progress shows how much can be achieved when science and medicine are underpinned by sustained political commitment,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said in a statement, according to Yahoo! News.