Antigua and Barbuda officially certified for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis

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It was a momentous occasion for the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda last Friday as the twin-island state was officially validated as one of six Caribbean countries to have successfully eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis.
Antigua and Barbuda, as well as St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Montserrat, were presented with validation certificates during a ceremony at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, which was attended by experts from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, UNAIDS, PANCAP/CARICOM and the Regional Validation Committee.
The ceremony took place on December 1, 2017 – observed globally as World AIDS Day.
Minister of Health, Molwyn Joseph, AIDS Programme Manager Delcora Williams along with ministers of health from the other five countries were also in attendance at Friday’s ceremony.
This group of six countries and territories is the second in the region of the Americas to receive this recognition, joining Cuba which was validated by the WHO in 2015.
During his remarks, Friday evening, Minister Joseph said eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis was not an easy task.
“When we, as human beings, engage in exercise that could do something as profound as preventing a child from being born with HIV, it’s a remarkable achievement. These are the human stories that give justice to the efforts of healthcare workers,” the minister said.
Joseph also expressed gratitude to the management and staff of the various healthcare services, community health practitioners, the National AIDS Programme, as well as the various development partners including PAHO, PEPFAR, UNICEF and UNAIDS that helped to make it possible for the six Caribbean territories to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis.

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