Despite substantial declines in new HIV infections globally, the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to disproportionately impact adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in many countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 67 percent – or an estimated 280,000 – of annual new HIV infections in young people occur in AGYW. Data show that AGYW are up to 14 times more likely to become HIV-infected than their male counterparts.
What is DREAMS?
PEPFAR announced the flagship DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) public private partnership on World AIDS Day 2014 with private sector partners: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, and ViiV Healthcare.
DREAMS is implemented across 15 countries and conducted in close collaboration with partners, experts, advocates, and adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). Over the last four years, PEPFAR has invested over $800 million through DREAMS, reaching millions of girls and lifting up their families and communities.
DREAMS provides a comprehensive, multi-sectoral package of core interventions to address key factors that make girls and young women particularly vulnerable to HIV. These include structural factors, such as gender-based violence, exclusion from economic opportunities, and a lack of access to secondary school. DREAMS layers multiple interventions at once so that AGYW are surrounded with critical support to keep them safe from HIV and other risks.
Data released on World AIDS Day 2019, showed that DREAMS has reduced new HIV diagnoses among adolescent girls and young women by 25 percent or more in nearly all regions implementing the initiative.
DREAMS has driven a greater global focus on the unique risks and opportunities experienced by AGYW. It has pushed partner governments to renew their commitments on gender equality and its impact on adolescent health and development. It has enabled multilateral organizations and non-governmental organizations to advocate more successfully for greater attention on and investment in AGYW. Critically, AGYW are meaningfully engaged at every step of DREAMS for their unique insights and leadership.