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?
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.