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Elimiantion of Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis in the Americas. 2010 Situation Analysis

:: Full Text report [pdf]

In the Americas, each year an estimated 5,000 (3,200–6,900) children become infected with HIV and between 164,000 and 344,000 are born with congenital syphilis (CS)—both highly preventable infections with serious health consequences if left untreated.

Based on UNAIDS estimates in 2010, 5,000 children were infected with HIV in the Americas, the majority through mother-to-child transmission (MTCT); 4,700 (3,000–6,500) in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2010 in the Americas, an estimated 58,000 (44,000–74,000) children under the age of 15 had HIV, of which 57,000 (43,000–72,000) were from Latin America and the Caribbean. In the same year, estimated numbers of deaths of children under the age of 15 in the Americas were 3,600 (2,100–5,100); 3,400 (1,900–4,800) in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Using data for the period 1997 to 2003, the World Health Organization estimated—that of the more than 2 million annual cases of gestational syphilis around the world, up to 25% occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the prevalence of gestational syphilis was estimated at 3.9%—above the world average of 1.8%. This translated to an estimated 460,000 annual cases of gestational syphilis—of which it is unknown how many were diagnosed and  treated—and between 164,000 and 344,000 annual cases of congenital syphilis. In addition, each year more than 100,000 pregnancies result in fetal death or spontaneous abortion due to gestational or maternal syphilis. Based on country reports in 2006, of the six Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries with available information on the prevalence of gestational syphilis, this prevalence varied from 0.08% in Chile to 5.19% in Paraguay. According to country data from the same year, the incidence of congenital syphilis varied from 0 cases per 1,000 live births in Cuba to 1.6 cases per 1,000 live births in Brazil.


  1. Stepped-up efforts to overcome challenges in the delivery of prenatal and childbirth care and to eliminate geographic, social, economic and cultural barriers to early access to quality care.
  2. Strengthening of surveillance and information systems related to HIV and syphilis among women and babies to eliminate data gaps, noting that many countries and territories in the hemisphere have not reported on key indicators of progress toward elimination.


:: Mother-to-Child Ellimination of HIV and Congenital Syphilis Initiative
:: PAHO HIV and Sexual Transmitted Infections
:: WHO HIV/AIDS Fact sheet


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