Cuba recently became the first country to end transmission of HIV from mothers to babies. 

Why Cuba? The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria have trained up health promoters across the country, ensuring that all pregnant women are tested for HIV during their first prenatal consultation, and tested if needed.

“Cuba’s milestone can be seen as a beacon held up to the rest of the world. It can inspire us to believe that ending the HIV epidemic is possible, and also reminds us that there is still a lot more work to do,” said Carlos Cortés Falla from UNDP Cuba.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been agreed to, and paint an inspiring picture of the world in 2030.

Goal 3, Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, includes a target to end epidemics like AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria by 2030, as well as a target to reduce preventable newborn and child deaths to zero.

Great progress has been made, but there is a long way to go to end the epidemics of HIV, TB and malaria.

HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria still account for the deaths of more than 3 million people each year. Since 2000, increased action on prevention, detection and treatment for these diseases has led to significant reductions in cases and deaths for each disease. But as we look towards 2030, what challenges remain?

HIV and AIDS kill about 1.5 million people each year.

TB infects 9 million people and kills about 1.5 million people each year.

Malaria infects 200 million people and kills 500,000 each year.

Over the coming months, we will be ensuring Australia does its fair share to combat these epidemics, including by pledging generously to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in mid-2016.

The first step towards this? Urging our leaders not to cut Australian aid in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), which will take place in early December 2015.

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