December 1, 2015
World AIDS Day brought a flood of announcements—and for advocates who’ve been following the DREAMS initiative—a joint venture of PEPFAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Girl Effect (the Nike Foundation)—there was news of note.
Speaking at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), in Harare, Zimbabwe, Ambassador Deborah Birx, head of the PEPFAR program, announced the details of an “Innovation Challenge” fund that would bring new money and new partners to the initiative, which is focused on bringing down rates of HIV in adolescent girls and young women.
Ambassador Birx announced that the DREAMS Innovation Fund would combine US$80 million in PEPFAR funds (a new allocation from within the existing budget) with US$25 million from new private sector partners Johnson and Johnson and ViiV, as well as support from Gilead, with a specific focus on providing PrEP as part of the DREAMS country plans.
The precise plans for how the Innovation Funds will be disbursed, including timelines for applications to the fund, framing of the requests for proposals, and so on haven’t been revealed yet. A fact sheet on the Innovation Challenge can be found here.
The next step for advocates? Keeping up the pressure on OGAC and PEPFAR country offices to ensure that civil society coalitions are engaged in both Innovation Challenge planning and overall DREAMS implementation. With dialogues happening right now at ICASA on this very topic (follow @hivpxresearch for the latest), this is already in the works. Not in Harare? Be in touch to get involved.