The DREAMS Innovation Challenge (DREAMS-IC) worked to reduce the incidence of HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women living in 10 sub-Saharan African countries through the implementation of innovation solutions, contributing to the overall PEPFAR target of a 40% reduction in new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in target countries by 2017. DREAMS-IC is an $85 million investment funded by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (Janssen), one of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson; and ViiV Healthcare.
JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., supported 46 of the 55 DREAMS-IC winners selected to execute cutting-edge programs across the 10 DREAMS countries: Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Over two years (2016–2018), the DREAMS Innovation Challenge touched the lives of more than 160,000 girls and young women between the ages of 10 and 24.
JSI developed organizational capacity where needed, managed funds, and provided overall program support for DREAMS–IC, with funding from the U.S. Department of State. Technical assistance focussed on strengthening partners’ institutional capacity to manage awards in compliance with U.S. Government regulations and supported them in reaching the DREAMS–IC goal through interventions in six focus areas:
- Strengthening leadership and capacity of communities and grassroots, community-based organizations to support the expansion of evidence-based services
- Keeping girls in secondary school and addressing underlying access, enrollment, and retention issues
- Pioneering new ways to find young and adult men and link them to HIV services—counseling, testing, treatment, and voluntary medical male circumcision
- Supporting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) interventions by identifying adolescent girls and young women appropriate for PrEP initiation and adherence services
- Providing a post-secondary school bridge to employment for young women (ages 19-24)
- Increasing the use of Data4Dreams with support from Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)
Despite considerable progress in the overall global HIV and AIDS response, the epidemic among females ages 15 to 24 in a subset of critical countries is out of control. AIDS is the leading cause of death for adolescent girls in Eastern and Southern Africa. As many as 7,000 new infections a week were occurring in the most vulnerable girls and young women in Eastern and Southern Africa when the project was launched in 2016.
In response, the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator launched the DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, Safe) Partnership, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and ViiV Healthcare to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women, ages 15 to 24 over two years. DREAMS funds a core package of evidence-based interventions.
The DREAMS Innovation Challenge was created as a sub-component of DREAMS, designed to infuse new thinking and resources into the Partnership. It was established to provide resources to initiate innovative ideas. These programs have helped build the evidence base for what works to protect and prevent girls from acquiring HIV.
Check out some of the girl's stories and resources developed under the DREAMS-IC project.