success story

The “Countdown Clock”

In 2014, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) set the ’90-90-90 targets’, aiming to diagnose 90% of all HIV-positive people, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90% of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90% of those treated by 2020.

Vietnam is proudly the first country in Asia and the Pacific to commit to these 90-90-90 targets and has had an effective HIV response in the last decade, saving 150,000 lives from AIDS-related deaths.

Despite these results, there are still nearly 11,000 new HIV infections and 8,000 AIDS-related deaths every year in Vietnam.

Client is being consulted and given HIV lay-test


To achieve the 90-90-90 targets, we needed to fast-track! Since 2016, Life Centre has implemented the USAID Enhanced Community HIV Link-Southern project in Vietnam (funded by PEPFAR) and created an innovative performance-based mechanism called “The Countdown Clock” to boost HIV-positive case findings among key populations (KP) with high risks of HIV infection.

Unlike the previous performance-based method, the “Countdown Clock” did not set specific targets per community based organization (CB0), removing time- and geographic limitations for achieving targets, and enabled the CBOs to expand their outreach network.

The image of the “Countdown Clock” was symbolic and visual in order to motivate all CBOs to run full speed ahead and to work with a rigorous attitude while the Clock counted down towards the target deadline (similar to countdown on New Year Eve!). With this new mechanism, LIFE Centre was able to assist CBOs to find more HIV-positive case findings in a shorter time.

Within the first quarter of USAID fiscal year 2019 (from Oct 1 to Dec 31, 2018), the LIFE Centre’s project team found 734 new HIV-positive cases in Ho Chi Minh City, reducing time spent by half compared to the same cases found in fiscal year 2018.


One CBO leader said that, “With this new mechanism, we have not been limited by the set HIV-positive case target but encouraged to find as many cases as possible.”

Another CB0 outreach member shared, “The Countdown Clock enabled us to apply outreach methods, creatively and flexibly, as well as utilize our resources appropriately.”

That said, “The Countdown Clock” has proved to be an innovative and cost-efficient performance-based mechanism to help Vietnam fast track the achievement of the UNAIDS’ set 90-90-90 targets.

Report prepared by Life Centre and CHPIR at Duke University, 2019


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