Evidence to support HIV prevention for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) & their male partners: results from Malawi DREAMS studies with AGYW, male partners of AGYW, men living with HIV, and program implementing partners
Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in Malawi bear a disproportionate burden of HIV compared to their male peers—HIV prevalence is 2.3 times higher among young women aged 15–24 compared to young men of the same age. DREAMS is an initiative that aims to ensure that AGYW aged 15–24 have an opportunity to live Determined, Resilient, Empowered AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe (DREAMS). DREAMS works in the Zomba and Machinga districts of Malawi through layered interventions with existing United States Agency for International Development partners in order to reduce HIV incidence and violence, and empower AGYW, particularly out-of-school AGYW ages 15–24 and young adolescent girls ages 10–14.
Project SOAR, led by the Population Council, in partnership with the Center of Reproductive Health at the University of Malawi College of Medicine, conducted a research portfolio to generate evidence to reduce HIV risk among AGYW and their male partners. The specific objectives of this implementation research were to generate evidence for describing HIV-related risk factors among AGYW; assess the extent to which the overall DREAMS project contributed toward the goal of reducing HIV risk among AGYW; and understand the characteristics of male partners and how to link them to HIV services, as well as retain men living with HIV in care. The findings of the study aimed to inform HIV prevention programs and policies with the goal of improving health programming and overall well-being of AGYW and men in Malawi and other similar settings.