Thailand, Belarus eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis

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Adolescents in Chiang-Mai, Thailand, learning about HIV/AIDS. Photo: UNICEF/Thailand

Both Thailand and Belarus have now eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, according to the World Health Organization, WHO.

The Minister of Health of Thailand was presented with a certificate of validation during a ceremony at headquarters in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly's High Level meeting on ending AIDS.

It was also announced on the eve of the conference, that activist and fashion designer Kenneth Cole, from the United States, is to become a UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador.

Janie Cangelosi reports.

Thailand recently became the first nation in Asia and the Pacific region to completely eliminate mother-to-child transmission of both HIV and syphilis.

It's also the first nation with a significant HIV and AIDS epidemic, to do so.

WHO has also validated the elimination of maternal transfer of both sexually transmitted infections in Belarus.

WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said "to ensure children are born healthy is to give them the best possible start in life" and added that the increasing number of validated nations is "a clear signal that the world is on the way to an AIDS-free generation."

Cuba became the first nation to be validated last year after WHO and other partners developed a global criteria for validation.

The WHO also recognized Armenia for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and the Republic of Moldova for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of syphilis.

Janie Cangelosi, United Nations.

Duration: 51″

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