DREAMS South Africa

Oprah Winfrey addresses the young women attending our #BigDREAMS young women's empowerment event
Oprah Winfrey addresses the young women attending our #BigDREAMS young women's empowerment event

Working together for an AIDS-free future for Adolescent Girls & Young Women

What is DREAMS?

DREAMS is a global 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. It seeks to reduce new HIV infections inadolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries including South Africa. The ultimate goal is to help girls develop into Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women.

Why Adolescent Girls?

Adolescent girls and young women remain the most vulnerable to new HIV infections, unplanned pregnancy and sexual violence. Girls aged 15-19 are up to eight times, while young women aged 20- 24 are three times, more likely to be infected with HIV than their male peers. In South Africa approximately2, 000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV every week. This means that one new infection occurs every five minutes. More than a third of South Africa’s girls
adolescent girls have reported that their first sexual encounter was forced. DREAMS is crafted to change this picture to ensure that girls and young women enjoy an AIDS-free future.

DREAMS in South Africa

In South Africa DREAMS is part of the She Conquers campaign. The $66 million investment in DREAMS South Africa funds activities in five districts: eThekwini, uMgungundlovu and uMkhanyakude in KwaZulu-Natal Province; and the Cities of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni in Gauteng Province. Within these five districts there are 31 sub-districts and DREAMS will focus in 19 high burden and high transmission sub-districts. DREAMS is about using multiple evidence based interventions, such as post-violence care,parenting/caregiver programs, and facilitating access to already available cash transfers and education subsidies, that go beyond the health sector, to address the structural drivers that directly and indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and lack of education. In South Africa, DREAMS interventions will target adolescent girls age 10-19 in and out of school, orphans and vulnerable children age 10- 19, young women age 20-24, and male sexual partners age 20-49. Keeping young girls and women HIV-free also positively impacts their overall health.