The Population Council is pleased to introduce a new supplement to AIDS journal, “HIV prevention for adolescent girls and their partners under the DREAMS partnership: Assessing implementation, uptake, and impact.”

Women and girls bear the burden of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 4,000 adolescent girls and young women aged 15–24 were infected with HIV every week in 2020. Launched in 2014, DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe), an ambitious public-private partnership, sought to reduce HIV risk among adolescent girls and young women in the countries with the highest HIV burden.

The DREAMS approach went beyond the health sector, and worked to empower adolescent girls and young women, engage their partners, and foster a supportive enabling environment. This comprehensive and multilevel approach, implemented at scale, revealed the need for important questions around program implementation and effects.

The Population Council led DREAMS’s implementation science research portfolio, examining program effects and strategies for reducing HIV risk among adolescent girls and young women and their partners in Eastern and Southern Africa. This portfolio was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) and Project SOAR, an operational AIDS research consortium funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The AIDS supplement offers 10 research papers using innovative methods to evaluate and understand different aspects of program implementation and impact—from awareness of the DREAMS program; relative uptake of different components of the package; and its impact on sexual risk pathways, modelled HIV incidence, and cost. A commentary introduces the papers and highlights the scope and challenges with evaluating a large, complex, and ambitious program like DREAMS.

The supplement is a collaboration among the Population Council, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, PEPFAR, and B&MGF.

This important new collection includes four articles from Population Council researchers:

  1. Assessing layered HIV prevention programming: optimizing outcomes for adolescent girls and young women 
  2. Inroads for HIV prevention among men: findings from mixed methods research in the context of the DREAMS partnership in Southern Africa 
  3. Effects of men’s lifetime adverse events experience on violence, HIV risk, and wellbeing: insights from three countries 
  4. Unit costs of a community-based girl-centered HIV prevention program: a case study of Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe program 

Read the open access supplement at AIDS Journal.