Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS) help countries plan for HIV/AIDS epidemic control and support

Data from the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS) help countries plan for HIV/AIDS epidemic control and support the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) goal of an HIV/AIDS-free generation. CDC, as one of five government agencies charged with leading PEPFAR efforts, works side-by-side with ministries of health, civil and faith-based organizations, private sector organizations, and other on-the-ground partners to implement HIV prevention, care, and treatment efforts.

A critical component of understanding the relationship between violence and HIV is high quality and strategic data. Violence, particularly gender-based violence, is both a risk factor and a potential consequence of HIV.


PEPFAR provides funding for countries to implement VACS. This strategic partnership supports data collection and analysis to better understand violence against children, as well as its association with HIV.

Since 2011, PEPFAR, through CDC’s Division of Global HIV & Tuberculosis (TB), has funded VACS implementation in the following countries:

  • Botswana (2016)
  • Cote d’Ivoire (2018)
  • Eswatini (planned for 2022)
  • Ethiopia (planned for 2022)
  • Jamaica (planned for 2022)
  • Kenya (2019)
  • Lesotho (2018)
  • Mozambique (2019)
  • Namibia (2019)
  • Zimbabwe (2017)

Additionally, PEPFAR has supported portions of surveys or CDC technical assistance for VACS in the following countries:

  • Cambodia (2013)
  • Haiti (2012)
  • Malawi (2013)
  • Nigeria (2014)
  • Rwanda (2016)
  • Uganda (2015)
  • Zambia (2014)

PEPFAR Prioritizes Using the VACS Data for Action

PEPFAR has prioritized understanding, preventing, and responding to violence, particularly violence among children and youth. PEPFAR programs seek to address priorities for HIV prevention identified through VACS data by expanding evidence-based interventions focused on primary prevention of sexual violence and HIV, with a particular focus on prevention for 9–14-year-olds. These interventions are implemented in the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe (DREAMS)external icon program, Orphans and Vulnerable Children programsexternal icon, Faith-based organizations, and community initiatives.

The DREAMS program provides a comprehensive package of core interventions to address factors such as gender-based violence, exclusion from economic opportunities, and a lack of access to secondary school that make girls and young women particularly vulnerable to HIV. VACS provides essential data to help DREAMS countries plan for violence prevention and response programming as well as target interventions to adolescent girls and young women at the highest risk of violence and HIV infection.

To learn more about CDC’s work to combat HIV globally, visit CDC’s Global HIV and TB website.

Page last reviewed: October 15, 2021