Success: Mother-to-Child HIV Numbers See Big Drop
The World Health Organization (WHO) granted Botswana a certification stating that the African country is on its way to eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission, thus proving that an AIDS-free generation is possible.
“This groundbreaking milestone is a big step forward in ending AIDS on the continent and shows how visionary political leadership aligned with public health priorities can save lives,” states Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “I look forward to other African countries also reaching this goal.”
Botswana became the first high-burden HIV country – where more than 2% of pregnant women live with the virus – to reach the “silver tier” status, meaning that the country has a mother-to-child HIV transmission rate under 5%, provides antiretroviral treatment to more than 90% of pregnant women, and has an HIV case rate inferior to 500 per 100,000 live births. Two decades ago, the HIV prevalence rate reached 30%, hence the country’s decision to initiate an aggressive program to fix this public health issue by implementing the Option B+ plan, an effective lifelong triple antiviral treatment administered to all pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV upon being diagnosed with the virus.