Flovian DREAMS project
Flovian, a participant of PEPFAR's DREAM Programme in Kenya.
Flovian, a participant of PEPFAR's DREAM Programme in Kenya.

Girls with DREAMS

17th March 2023


Despite substantial declines in new HIV infections globally, adolescent girls and young women are up to 14 times more likely to become HIV-infected than their male counterparts. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 67% (or 280,000) – of annual new HIV infections in young people occur in adolescent girls and young women.

The DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe) partnership is an ambitious public-private partnership aimed at reducing rates of HIV among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in the highest HIV burden countries.

Explore the inspiring stories below and also learn more about our data-driven solutions to end violence in Kenya.

happy and healthy
Lavender makes tea in the morning for her younger brothers before they go to school. Photo courtesy of PEPFAR Kenya.

Adolescent girls and young women account for 74% of new HIV infections among all adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa and nearly 1,000 AGYW are infected with HIV every day. Social isolation, poverty, discriminatory cultural norms, orphanhood, gender-based violence, and inadequate schooling all contribute to their vulnerability to HIV and a life not lived to its full potential.

The DREAMS partnership goes beyond individual health initiatives to address these factors, working toward meeting the Sustainable Development Goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

Meet the girls with DREAMS

A new approach
Vyona, Kenya. Photo courtesy of PEPFAR Kenya.

DREAMS was announced on World AIDS Day 2014, and in 2015 USAID began activities in ten countries in sub-Saharan Africa: eSwatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These countries accounted for nearly half of all the new HIV infections that occurred among AGYW globally.

In 2017, DREAMS expanded to five new countries: Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Rwanda, and Namibia. In 2020, South Sudan began to implement two components of the DREAMS package of services, Violence Prevention and Economic Strengthening.

The DREAMS core package aims to:

  • empower adolescent girls and young women and reduce risk through youth-friendly reproductive health care and social asset building;
  • mobilize communities for change with school- and community-based HIV and violence prevention;
  • reduce risk of sex partners through PEPFAR programming, including HIV testing, treatment, and voluntary medical male circumcision; and
  • strengthen families with social protection (education subsidies, combination socio-economic approaches) and parent/caregiver programs.

DREAMS approach

DREAMS provides a comprehensive, multi-sectoral package of core interventions to address key factors that make girls and young women particularly vulnerable to HIV. These include structural factors, such as gender-based violence, exclusion from economic opportunities, and a lack of access to secondary school. DREAMS layers multiple interventions at once so that AGYW are surrounded with critical support to keep them safe from HIV and other risks.