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Making DREAMS Come True
February 14, 2022

Developing Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe young women


Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) face an increased vulnerability for HIV acquisition when compared to their peers. Globally, there are 18.8 million AGYW living with HIV, and young women age 15-24 are two to 14 times as likely to acquire HIV than males of the same age, dependent on country  Around 6,000 young women become infected with HIV each week and in Sub-Saharan Africa, four out of five new HIV infections among youth age 15-19 years are in girls. Additionally, data show AGYW are a priority population to target in order to reduce new infections to reach HIV epidemic control.

What is DREAMS?
In order to prioritize AGYW’s health and wellbeing, and reach HIV epidemic control, PEPFAR announced an ambitious public-private partnership, the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) partnership, on World AIDS Day in 2014.

DREAMS seeks to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women and develop Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe young women. DREAMS programs go beyond the health sector and seek to address the structural drivers that increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and lack of education.


The DREAMS program in South Africa is in 24 districts and eight provinces. The evidence-based programming offered includes:

  • Comprehensive sexuality education, including condom education and distribution;
  • Adolescent friendly HIV testing and counseling services;
  • Life skills training and social asset building;
  • Economic strengthening, skills training, and job readiness;
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP);
  • Post-violence care, including HIV testing, emergency contraception, and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP); and
  • Facilitating access to South African Government social protection services.