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USAID Community HIV Link-Southern Project is to strengthen community HIV/AIDS services to support a sustainable national HIV/AIDS response.

To contribute to this goal, the following objectives will be achieved:

  1. Deliver effective community-based HIV/AIDS services to a total of 6,000 KPs including 4,000 high risk populations (IDU, FSW and MSM) and 2,000 PLHIV in Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho and An Giang Province;
  2. Strengthen capacity for community-based organizations working on HIV/AIDS in HCMC, Can Tho and An Giang;
  3. Facilitate networking and coordination with key stakeholders in the HIV/AIDS sector at the provincial and national level.

Vietnam has recently witnessed rapid growth of civil society organizations active in providing HIV-related services for key populations. However, with limited technical and human capacity and little participation in national or provincial policy dialogue, these efforts have not achieved significant impact. Concurrently, there is a need to move beyond traditional peer outreach to connect groups at greatest risk for HIV – injecting drug users, female sex workers and men who have sex with men – to HIV testing, care and treatment.  The Community HIV Link program will advance the community-level response to HIV by strengthening the ability of local organizations to reach most at-risk populations and link them with appropriate HIV services.

Working in Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho and An Giang provinces, Community HIV Link will mobilize members of local community-based organizations to develop networks of high risk groups.  The project will establish referral systems between local organizations and existing HIV service providers to connect clients to HIV services. The project will also build leadership among community organizations and facilitate networking and coordination between local organizations and key provincial and national level stakeholders in the HIV/AIDS sector – giving community-based groups a voice in the provincial and national HIV/AIDS response.

The project activities will be implemented through the following strategies:

  • The “USAID Community HIV Link – Southern” Project will enable mobilization of and facilitate capacity building for members of community-based groups and organizations (CBO) and promote their greater engagement in HIV service delivery to the above-stated key affected populations. To effectively reduce the transmission and prevalence of HIV, it is essential to reach out to and involve members of higher risk populations and other PLHIV.
  • To access and reach greater numbers of focus KPs, we will work with the community-based project teams to adapt innovative intervention methods, such as the Indigenous Leader Outreach Model (ILOM) , and the Peer-Driven Intervention (PDI) , as well as utilizing common technologies including mobile phone text messages (SMS) and the Internet.
  • The project will use the “Cascade” model to define leaks in each of the HIV program steps across COPC and define key/priority interventions in the project district sites of HCMC, Can Tho and An Giang. We will regularly seek support from USAID SMART TA and the Provincial AIDS Committee /Centre for AIDS Prevention and Control (PAC) for updated data across the Cascade model. The project will mark a shift from a vertical program approach, in which distinctions were drawn between prevention and care and support, to linking COPC services across the Cascade.
  • We will obtain support from PAC, and the Provincial Health Department (PHD) as necessary, in each city/province to establish a coordination mechanism to support project implementation. Through regular coordination meetings, we will seek PACs’ support to create strong linkages between the project local team and the locally-based HIV related service providers and other health services in the locality. A referral tracking system will be set up by LIFE in collaboration with the PACs to ensure clients of the key populations to promptly access and utilize the referred services.
  • The recipient will mobilize technical resources from PEPFAR/USAID partners (e.g. USAID SMART TA) and other programs (e.g. Global Fund and the National Target Program), as well as international organizations working with the same populations. This will help to avoid overlap, ensure smooth, effective and sustainable program implementation and bring about greater impact in the target populations.