Making DREAMS Come True

DREAMS Ambassadors and other participants in the #GirlSafe program, Nov. 2017

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

Announced on World AIDS Day in 2014, DREAMS is a global partnership between PEPFAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, ViiV Healthcare, and Gilead. Adolescent girls and young women remain the most vulnerable to new HIV infections. In South Africa, over 850 young women aged 15-24 are estimated to be infected each week. These young women are nearly four times times more likely to be infected with HIV than their male peers.

DREAMS participants learn about HIV prevention at Zola Clinic, March 2019.

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.

In 2020, DREAMS programming in South Africa expanded from four focus districts to 24 districts in eight provinces (see below), with funding nearly tripling to $90 million for COP20. 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.



Starting during COP20, DREAMS programs now support 24 health districts across 8 provinces:

  • Eastern Cape: Alfred Nzo, Buffalo City, OR Tambo
  • Free State: Lejweleputswa, Thabo Mofutsanyana
  • Gauteng: City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng
  • KwaZulu-Natal: eThekwini, King Cetshwayo, Ugu, uMgungundlovu, Uthukela, Zululand
  • Limpopo: Capricorn, Mopani
  • Mpumalanga: Ehlanzeni, Gert Sibande, Nkangala
  • North West: Bonjala Platinum, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, Ngaka Modiri Molema
  • Western Cape: City of Cape Town