BANGKOK – Thailand was officially certified Wednesday as the first country in Asia that can eliminate the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children.
From the assessment conducted by United Nations agencies, the rate of Thailand’s mother-to-child transmission of HIV has fallen to below 2 percent, which is considered by the World Health Organization to be the level allowing for the complete elimination of transmission.
UNICEF Representative for Thailand Thomas Davin described the news as a “remarkable achievement,” as Thailand has demonstrated its commitment and leadership in responding to the global pandemic.
“Thailand has set an example that will inspire many other Asian countries in their efforts towards an AIDS and syphilis-free generation,” Thomas said.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said that the success of Thailand in all but wiping out HIV from newborns will benefit not only Thai people, but everybody living in the country, even though the challenge of how to make elimination sustainable remains.
The WHO and key partners published guidance on global processes and criteria for the policy of elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. In 2014 Cuba became the first country to have the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission within reach.