Statement on Adolescent Girls and Young Women-Focused Initiative


Statement from Friends of the Global Fight President Deborah Derrick

Washington, D.C., December 1, 2014 — Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria applauds today’s announcement of an innovative new partnership designed to significantly reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women. At a White House event commemorating World AIDS Day, Ambassador Susan Rice announced the DREAM initiative, designed to ensure young women and girls are determined, resilient, empowered, AIDS-free, mentored, and safe. The partnership — which brings together the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nike Foundation — will allocate $210 million to reach this critical population in up to 10 countries.

This key population is central to efforts to defeat HIV/AIDS. Globally, girls and young women ages 15 to 24, for whom HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death, are twice as likely to be at risk of infection as boys and young men in the same age group. This can be attributed to many factors, including unequal power in sexual relationships, gender-based violence, lack of economic control and poor access to health information and services.

More than a decade ago, organizations including PEPFAR and the Global Fund were designed as an emergency response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Today, though an AIDS-free generation may be in our sights, we have not yet reached the finish line. Defeating HIV/AIDS requires us to harness the power of unique partnerships with the private sector, such as the one announced today. Throughout the last decade, dozens of companies have contributed assets, technical expertise, human resources and commodities to the work of PEPFAR, the Global Fund and their partners. In combination with other resources, these contributions have helped drive unprecedented progress in recent years. As evidenced by today’s announcement, organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nike Foundation are leading the way in this arena.

The Global Fund, for its part, is committed to addressing the social, legal, cultural and biological issues that underpin gender inequality and contribute to poor health outcomes. As the world’s largest public health financier, it has been supporting programs addressing the health needs of women and girls, including investing in more than 10 percent of the total international funding for maternal and child health every year since 2005. It is also supporting half of all women receiving antiretroviral treatments for HIV/AIDS in Africa. In addition, this past year the Global Fund launched a new Gender Equality Strategy Action Plan, placing increased priority on addressing gender inequalities and strengthening efforts to protect women and girls’ rights to health care.

Today, on World AIDS Day, it is critical to remember that gender-focused health strategies can act as a catalyst for global change in the health and social welfare of women and girls. In considering health and gender holistically, and by helping women and girls achieve a better quality of life, we are increasing our impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS.


Friends of the Global Fight works to end the worldwide burden of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We educate, engage and mobilize U.S. decision makers to support the Global Fund, the world’s largest public health financier. For more information about Friends of the Global Fight, visit


Sarah Marston