Cuba has once again proven it has one of the world’s most advanced medical systems and healthcare policies in the world.
The World Health Organization announced yesterday that the Caribbean island is the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-baby HIV transmission.
WHO Director General Margaret Chan called it “one of the greatest public health achievements possible,” and a major step towards a generation free of AIDS. Even without a cure for AIDS, many scientists believe it can be eradicated through HIV prevention tactics such as this.
Increased access to antiretroviral drugs, HIV and syphilis testing for pregnant women and their partners, caesarean deliveries and substitution of breastfeeding – regional initiatives across the Caribbean – have all contributed to the breakthrough.
In 2013, only two babies with HIV were born in Cuba, which has a slightly larger population than New York City. According to a 2012 New York Times article, in the three decades of the global AIDS epidemic, 78,763 New Yorkers have died of AIDS while only 2,364 Cubans have.
This is the power of preventative healthcare versus reactive healthcare.