Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe Women

Adolescent girls and young women account for 71% of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa. Young women and girls in the region are twice as likely to be living with HIV as boys and men the same age, and account for one in four new infections in the region.

To help change this, PEPFAR and private sector partners—the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and ViiV Healthcare—are driving an ambitious $385 million DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) partnership to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls living in the highest-burden areas of 10 African countries by 40% by the end of 2017.

In Uganda, this $31 million program aims to reach 335,000 young women in two years. DREAMS provides a core package of evidence-based interventions to address the many interlocking challenges that face them. In practice, this will mean offering gender-based violence prevention and care for survivors to restore safety and foster resilience; increasing condom use and availability to empower young women to prevent infection; mapping sexual networks to decrease risk in sexual partners; and providing educational and economic opportunities to girls to help safeguard their future.

When implemented individually, these interventions and others have successfully addressed risk behaviors, HIV transmission, and gender-based violence. When implemented together — as part of a package — they have the potential to be even more impactful and help girls stay healthy, safe and resilient.