Cuba's PMTCT success story

Submitted by admin on Sun, 04/01/2012 - 13:39 - 0 Comments

Cuba has consistently high prevention of mother-to-child treatment (PMTCT) coverage, and the country has reported having eliminated HIV among children.

Multiple reasons have been cited to explain this relative success: the existence of a solid and accessible maternal and child health program prior to the HIV epidemic, routine HIV testing during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, provision of antiretrovirals starting at the 14th week of pregnancy (AZT from 1997 to 2008 and ART since October 2008), caesarian section if required, recommendation of breastfeeding cessation, and distribution of infant feeding substitutes--all of which are fully publicly subsidised and provided free of charge to all Cuban nationals.

Diagnosis and follow-up of children with HIV in Cuba are guided by well-established protocol. All children born to women with HIV are seen at the Hospital of the Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kori in Havana; air or ground transportation for the child and up to two family members is provided by the Ministry of Public Health. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on filter paper with dried blood spots is performed and the infant, if positive, is referred to healthy infant care through the neighbourhood family doctor program. If the PCR results are positive, after confirmation the infant is referred to a treatment program.  

Taken from PMTCT 2010 Situation Analysis

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The UNAIDS team offers the Caribbean the broad expertise of cosponsors and other UN organisations in areas such as program development and management, women and child health, education, legal networking, community care initiatives and resource mobilisation. The goal is an expanded response to HIV in the region with the world’s second highest HIV prevalence.