Elimination of Vertical Transmission of HIV and AIDS in Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka becomes the 4th country in the Asia- Pacific to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis, according to the latest report of WHO and UNAIDS. This small island country in the India Ocean has been free from vertical transmission of HIV since 2017. The number of congenital syphilis cases has been at 2 per 1,00,000 live births.

The Ministry of Public Health in Sri Lanka reported that of all the pregnant women who were diagnosed with HIV were provided anti-retroviral therapy and over 97% of them who were diagnosed with syphilis were treated too. Sri Lanka’s commitment to public health is very evident in not just reducing and eliminating mother-to-child transmission of diseases, but also in the eradication of polio, elimination of maternal as well as neonatal tetanus, elimination of filariasis and measles and control of rubella. Sri Lanka is also marching ahead to uplift the health of its citizens by working in areas like mental health and eradication of non-communicable diseases.

While Sri Lanka has joined the likes of Thailand, Malaysia and Maldives in eliminating vertical transmission of some deadly diseases, it is quite sad to see India still grappling with the problem mainly due to societal norms, the stigma associated with such diseases and poor health services in rural and urban poor areas.

 

Source of the News: https://www.who.int/southeastasia/news

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