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SVG eliminates mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis

May 1, 2024

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines has joined 10 other Caribbean countries in achieving UNAIDS certification of the dual elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) of HIV and syphilis.

In addition, the island becomes the sixth member state of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member country to do so.

Its certification will be up for re-validation in the next four years.

“This achievement signals to the world that ending paediatric HIV and MTCT of syphilis is achievable,” Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) Winnie Byanyima, said in an April 24 letter to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.

Byanyima said it was remarkable that 11 of the 20 countries which have been certified are from the Caribbean.

“This is testament to the resilience and dedication of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other Caribbean countries in ensuring health systems with strong maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) programmes that integrate HIV and syphilis interventions into MNCH services and child health care. It is also recognition of strong and sustained national leadership and commitment to health and EMTCT,” Byanyima said.

The UNAIDS official praised the work of St. Vincent and the Grenadines government for translating  political commitment to ending AIDS into action by leading a dedicated team of healthcare providers, including clinical care managers, MCH nurses, primary health nurses, community nurses and health aides, laboratory technicians, data and surveillance officers, members of the National Validation Team, including community representation from women living with HIV, to attain this public health milestone and to continue to maintain this success.”

Byanyima said that sustaining the biomedical and other health systems requirements, alongside human rights, gender and community engagement, particularly of communities of women living with HIV will require continued commitment and support.

“UNAIDS stands ready to continue supporting St. Vincent and the Grenadines in maintaining this progress,” Byanyima said, noting the island’s “leadership and hard work are helping to ensure no child is born with HIV and syphilis in the Caribbean, a milestone as we work to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030”.

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