Early this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Cuba has become the first country in the world to stop the transmission of the HIV virus, as well as syphillis, from mothers to their offspring.
“Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan. “This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation.”
Babies can be infected with HIV at birth or by breastfeeding if the mother is infected. If the mother gets HIV drugs before and after giving birth, and if the newborn is given drugs, the risk falls to less than 1 percent.
These two feats show that it might be possible to control a potential HIV or syphillis epidemic. Good job, science!