DREAMS beneficiaries perform a song and dance about feeling empowered.

What is DREAMS?

DREAMS is a global, public-private partnership between the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, ViiV Healthcare, and Gilead. The program seeks to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), between 10 and 24 years old, across 10 sub-Saharan African countries. DREAMS is designed to meet the complex needs of AGYW by helping them become more Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe.

Why Adolescent Girls and Young Women?

DREAMS economic strengthening activities.

Globally, AGYW are the most vulnerable to new HIV infections, unplanned pregnancy, and sexual violence. In Southern Africa, they account for 74% of new HIV infections among adolescents. In Zambia, HIV prevalence among young people, ages 15-24 years, is 7 percent (8 percent women; 5 percent men). And among urban youth, the prevalence is more than twice as high as their rural counterparts (9 percent women; 4 percent men). Additionally, 20.3 percent of young Zambian women (ages 15-24) report having experienced sexual abuse during childhood and 2 out of 5 report physical violence by an intimate partner.

DREAMS in Zambia

In Zambia, PEPFAR invests over $16 million per year in the DREAMS initiative. Working across 8 districts, DREAMS Zambia targets the most vulnerable AGYW in 40 health facility catchment zones. Operating in urban settings only, DREAMS provides beneficiaries with safe, confidential spaces to access a package of services tailored to their individual needs. These services include mentor-led safe spaces, gender-based violence care and support, HIV testing and counseling, family planning, pre-exposure prophylaxis, school scholarships, and economic strengthening. In addition, DREAMS works with sexual partners, parents, schools, and communities to strengthen the supportive networks necessary for young women to thrive.