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Advancing HIV Preventative Health Care for Adolescents: The Case of Jordan
Although the incidence rates of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remain low in Jordan and the Middle East as a whole, recent studies have shown that the rate of new infections has increased by 52 percent in the region in the past decade. Individuals under the age of 25 comprise more than half of Jordan’s population, and therefore they should be a key target of HIV preventive measures in the country. This study identifies services and programs that could serve young Jordanians who are seeking HIV preventive information or services. It also analyzes factors that currently inhibit the efficacy of these programs. Additionally, this study aims to provide substantive policy recommendations for the advancement of HIV preventative health care and overall sexual health, coupled with a discussion of strategies that could raise awareness about the virus among youth. To meet these aims, about 20 interviews were conducted with administrators and health care professionals at the Jordanian National AIDS Program (NAP), family planning and reproductive health clinics in the capital of Amman, gynecological offices, school nurses, and experts on HIV and sexual health. The study shows that HIV prevention is not a priority within Jordan’s health sector and that young people are at a greater risk of infection due to the paucity of sex education and youth-targeted HIV prevention programming. The Jordanian government can improve upon its services for youth by establishing a comprehensive sexual education curriculum in schools and by better integrating HIV prevention services into the health care sector.