WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is announcing a $300 million program to drastically reduce HIV infections in girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African nations hard hit by the virus.

Administration officials are aiming for a 25 percent infection reduction in females between ages 15-24 by the end of next year and a 40 percent reduction by the end of 2017.

“No greater action is needed right now than empowering adolescent girls and young women to defeat HIV/AIDS,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice said.

The new targets mark the next phase for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR. The program, started by President George W. Bush and expanded by President Obama, is credited with saving millions of lives in Africa.

The administration is unveiling the new targets ahead of a U.N. summit on development goals for lifting people around the world out of poverty.