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, an estimated 1,200 young women aged 15-24 are infected each week. Young women aged 20-24 are three 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 South Africa, DREAMS programming is currently offered in four focus districts: eThekwini and uMgungundlovu in KZN, and the City of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni in Gauteng. DREAMS goes 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. 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;
  • 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.