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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 have committed $85 million for the DREAMS Innovation Challenge to award solutions that infuse new thinking and approaches to give young women the opportunity to live the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe lives they deserve.

Today, Johnson & Johnson issued a call for innovative ideas as part of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, which is supported by PEPFAR, Janssen, and Viiv Healthcare.

AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age (15-49 years). Every year, 380,000 adolescent girls and young women become newly infected with HIV – more than 1,000 every day.

Launched on World AIDS Day 2014, DREAMS is an ambitious $385 million partnership delivering a Core Package of evidence-informed approaches that go beyond the health sector, addressing the structural drivers that directly or indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and a lack of education. The DREAMS Partnership includes PEPFAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and ViiV Healthcare.

The DREAMS Innovation Challenge will further DREAMS’ commitment to achieve a 40 percent reduction in HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women by the end of 2017 within the highest burden areas of 10 DREAMS countries – Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

“We believe that breakthrough innovations needed to reduce the HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women can come from anywhere in the world,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson. “Our hope in supporting the DREAMS Innovation Challenge is to unleash new ideas to help us achieve by the end of 2017, 40 percent reduction in HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women living in 10 sub-Saharan countries.”

“While we have made considerable progress in the global response to HIV/AIDS, adolescent girls and young women have been largely left behind,” said Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “With girls and young women accounting for 71 percent of all new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, we urgently need innovative solutions that empower them to protect their health and pursue their dreams.”

Dr. Dominique Limet, CEO of ViiV Healthcare commented: “Preventing the spread of HIV amongst girls and women is a key priority for us. The DREAMS Innovation Challenge is an initiative that we are proud to support as it aligns with our Positive Action for Girls and Women program and our commitment to working in partnership to find and support innovative community-led solutions. It also complements our drive to support treatment innovation to limit the impact of the epidemic.”

Winning solutions must demonstrate a readiness for rapid implementation in one or more of the 10 DREAMS countries and an ability to show impact within two years with the potential for long-lasting change. The DREAMS Partnership expects to announce the Challenge winners in mid-July and for awardees to begin implementation in early fall 2016.

For more information about the Challenge visit the DREAMS Innovation Challenge: http://www.dreamspartnership.org/innovation-challenge/