• Best practices
  • Innovative practice: DREAMS learns from local young women to reduc...
Innovative practice

DREAMS learns from local young women to reduce HIV


Johnson & Johnson


The collaborative partnership, to reduce new HIV infections among young women, uniquely engages directly with local young people through workshops to design learning activities.


Sub-Saharan Africa


To reduce new HIV infections by 40% among young women aged 15-24 years.


Girls and young women account for 74% of new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa.

Johnson & Johnson is a partner in DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe), a public-private partnership led by PEPFAR (The US President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief). Beginning in 2014, the initiative operates in ten sub-Saharan African countries, aiming to reduce new HIV infections by 40 per cent among young women aged 15-24 years. Johnson & Johnson became a formal partner in 2016. This age group of girls and young women account for 74 percent of new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa.

What makes Johnson & Johnson’s role innovative?
In addition to PEPFAR and Johnson and Johnson, DREAMS partners include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gilead Sciences, Girl Effect, and ViiV Healthcare. Johnson & Johnson is not the only pharmaceutical company involved in the initiative, but it has played a unique and innovative role in generating insight and driving engagement. Notably, Johnson & Johnson has worked to generate insights on behavioural change in target countries, using expertise and strategies from its consumer business, and segmentation analyses of more than 2,500 adolescent girls and young women (AGYW).

The creation of these photographs through PEPFAR/Kenya were done in partnership with Johnson & Johnson and Community Media Trust. ©PEPFAR/Kenya

How does DREAMS reach young women?
By engaging local stakeholders at all levels, including directly engaging local young people through workshops, the company has been instrumental in shaping the technical design of DREAMS programmes. Input from target groups guided the development of activities, such as the formation of the DREAMS Amplification Leadership Team which is a new Peer to Peer program. The input from the AGYW also led to the creation of the programme’s motto: “Nothing For Us Without Us.”

By drawing on its own resources from both within its consumer business and its Global Public Health unit in an innovative way, Johnson & Johnson has made a significant contribution to DREAMS’ development and implementation.

How does the initiative perform against the good practice standards?
The initiative meets every good practice standard expected by stakeholders. It works to meet local needs in a specific target population, and has clear, measurable goals. It has strong governance structures, and processes to mitigate conflicts of interest. Seeking contributions from the target population (AGYW) and local stakeholders, it designs activities to be sustainable and able to make long-term improvements by reducing the number of new HIV infections.

The partnership is also measuring outputs and outcomes, using a monitoring and evaluation framework co-developed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Data collected thus far is showing a decline in new HIV diagnoses among young women in DREAMS intervention districts. Johnson & Johnson is conducting its own social ‘return on investment’ analysis of DREAMS, and plans to make the results publicly available through conferences and peer-reviewed journals.

Learn more

View our detailed overview of each company’s performance in the Index, including breakdowns of their product portfolios and R&D pipelines.

Back to top |