July 18, 2016

Durban, South Africa – Today, 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 announced a combined $85 million investment to support 56 DREAMS Innovation Challengewinners* in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. Of this investment, $40 million is focused on keeping girls in secondary school, which dramatically reduces their vulnerability to HIV infection, and nearly half of these education-focused resources are directed to Malawi.

A recent case study in Botswana compared the benefits of one additional year of education for young women. For girls with ten years of education instead of nine, the risk for HIV infection was cut nearly in half. This is a potential game changer, particularly as girls and young women account for 75 percent of new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa.

The winners selected will implement innovative solutions in DREAMS districts, across all DREAMS countries and Challenge focus areas. The top three implementation countries – South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda – account for 64 percent of the winners. Of the winners, 18 percent will provide a bridge to employment for adolescent girls and young women; 23 percent will strengthen capacity of local organizations to deliver services; and 9 percent will apply data to increase the impact of HIV/AIDS interventions.

The Challenge generated ideas from many new and local community-based partners. As a result, 48 percent of the winners have never previously received PEPFAR funding, and 64 percent of winners are small, local community-based organizations.

“With today’s investment, thousands more adolescent girls and young women will have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams,” said Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “Adolescent girls and young women deserve nothing less, and we are committed to walk with them at every step along the road to an AIDS-free generation.”

“Young women and adolescent girls represent the largest population of those affected by new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson. “We need the best ideas and innovation from all around the world to solve HIV’s spread, and we are pleased that these new DREAMS award programs will help empower women and girls and reduce the burden of HIV.”

“When you know that close to 60 percent of new HIV infections, globally, occur in adolescent girls, it is an obvious decision for us to invest in supporting education and empowerment for girls,” said Dr. Dominique Limet, Chief Executive Officer at ViiV Healthcare. “As with any of our initiatives, it is crucial to work with partners to develop systemic solutions. We are proud to be involved with the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, to support this new important work delivered through community-based projects.”

The $385 million DREAMS public-private partnership, led by PEPFAR and with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and ViiV Healthcare, is supporting adolescent girls and young women to become Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe.

The DREAMS Innovation Challenge will accelerate progress toward the DREAMS target of achieving a 40 percent reduction in new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in the highest-burden areas of 10 sub-Saharan African countries by the end of 2017.