27 February 2017 - Across Vietnam, many people from rural and mountainous provinces travel to urban and industrial areas for periodic employment. This poses a significant challenge in addressing the HIV epidemic, including in the 90-90-90 priority provinces of Dien Bien and Nghe An. To help surmount this barrier the USAID SHIFT project partnered with Dien Bien and Nghe An Departments of Health (DOHs) and Provincial AIDS Centers (PACs), as well as other implementing partners such as USAID/Community Link and USAID/Healthy Markets, to implement an HIV case finding strategy during Tet. USAID SHIFT trained and helped DOHs, PACs, and districts to deploy hamlet health workers (HHWs) to find key population members (KPs) living and working outside the province when they return home for the holiday. These include people living with HIV (PLHIV) registered in the HIVInfo database but not yet enrolled on care in their home province. Over a three-week period (January 21-February 10), HHWs in 93 communes reached and screened 1,499 KPs, enabled 728 to receive HIV testing and results, and confirmed the HIV-positive status of 76 PLHIV. Additional results are forthcoming from 114 additional communes. During recent quarterly 90-90-90 progress review meetings, USAID SHIFT and provincial partners presented results and agreed on next steps to follow-up with and ensure that identified PLHIV enroll on treatment and social health insurance at their home province or elsewhere. The campaign was considered a major success, proving that well trained and motivated provincial and districts leaders and HHWs will invest the time and energy needed to reach those at risk of HIV, even during the year’s most sacred holiday. USAID SHIFT will continue supporting local partners to complete follow-up actions in coming months. While doing so the project will begin working with VAAC and USAID to consider means to track and provide treatment for PLHIV moving between provinces across the country.

 

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