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Jordan

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OVERVIEW

In Jordan, sexual and reproductive health care is a rather complex topic. On the one hand, frank discussion of sexuality (particularly the sexuality of unmarried women) is still taboo for many people, and health care providers typically assume that sexually-active women are married. As a result, Jordanian women may feel uncomfortable accessing certain services, especially if they're single. On the other hand, there's a wide range of options and experiences in Jordan overall, and particularly in cities like Amman. You can purchase contraceptive pills (birth control pills) without a prescription at pharmacies. While you may find other contraceptive methods, such as IUDs, available, you may be asked about your marriage status at certain hospitals or clinics before receiving treatment. We recommend you refer to the "Contraception" section for more details on this practice, as well as how some single women have chosen to handle it. While dedicated emergency contraception is not legally registered in Jordan, you can use regular birth control as replacement ECPs. We explain how this can be done in the "Emergency Contraception" section. While you can receive STI tests in Jordan, it's important to remember that, if you're a foreigner and test positive for HIV, you may be deported from Jordan. Regarding menstrual product, you can primarily find pads and some tampon brands in cities like Amman. It's very difficult to find menstrual cups within Jordanian markets, but you can order them online and have them shipped to Jordan. Furthermore, we have compiled a list of recommended gynecologists in the "Gynecological Exams" section. Regarding pregnancy, the Labour Law allows for 10 weeks of maternity leave, and we recommend you check out the "Gynecological Exams" section for recommended ob/gyns. Finally, abortion is only permitted in Jordan for very specific cases. If you or someone you know wants to obtain an abortion, it's recommended to seek out abortion services outside of Jordan rather than in the country. You can refer to the "Abortion" section for more details.

Contraception (Birth Control)[edit]

General Note: There are many types of contraceptives, also known as "birth control," including IUDs, oral contraceptives, patches, shots, and condoms, etc. If you would like to view a full list, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Jordan, you can purchase birth control pills without a prescription.[1] By law, you may technically need a prescription to purchase birth control pills,[2] [3] but a prescription isn't commonly requested by pharmacists.

However, there are certainly social stigmas in Jordan surrounding contraception, especially for women who seek out medications at clinics or hospitals. Certainly, some women in Jordan (particularly expatriates) have reported that they have purchased contraception with minimal or absolutely zero issues, especially when they have purchased the contraception at pharmacies. Yet it's important to understand that there's a noticeable bias against single women accessing contraception at certain hospitals and clinics. Doctors and hospitals in Jordan often act under the assumption that women who seek out contraception (or any sexual or reproductive health services) are married. So, if you choose to seek out contraception at a hospital (rather than a pharmacy), you may be asked questions like, "For how many years have you been married?" This can be interpreted as a form of social pressure that is meant to discourage single women from seeking out birth control. Some single women choose to say that they're divorced (even if they've never been married) to avoid the social pressure, stigmatization and shaming. If you want to avoid these types of questions, you can choose to seek out contraception at pharmacies, where you'll be less likely to encounter such questions. However, there is no guarantee that you can entirely avoid these questions, so one should be prepared to handle them in advance.

According to a 2015 study, it was found that 61.8% of Jordanian women (who are in unions/married and of reproductive age) use some form of contraception, including traditional methods. Meanwhile, 12% of Jordanian women have unmet family planning needs. The most common methods of contraception were IUDs (22.3%), withdrawal, also known as the "pull-out method" (13.6%), birth control pills (8.4%), condoms (8.2%) and the rhythm method (3.3%). There were low usage rates for female sterilization (2.3%), contraceptive injectables (0.9%) and contraceptive implants (0.3%).[4]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • In Jordan, you can find birth control pills in pharmacies. While you may technically need a prescription, this isn't always enforced, so you can often walk into a pharmacy and directly buy birth control pills from the pharmacist. Some of the brands you may find in pharmacies are Angeliq, Cerazette, Climen, Diane, Gracial, Kliogest, Femoston, Microgynon, Microgynon-30, Neogynon, Nordiol, Ologyn, Ovral, Lo-Femenal, Nordette, Norethindrone, Norethisterone, Trisequens, Rigevidon and Yasmin. For more information on birth control brands available in Jordan, click here.
  • Upate on Belara (birth control pill brand): Belara is no longer available in Jordan. It still exists in records but it can't be ordered and imported (September 2017)[5]
  • If you need to get the check-up that's (technically) legally required for a birth control prescription, you can get it a 'general health check-up' at The Jordanian Association for Family Planning and Protection for 3 dinar or a 'gynecology exam' for 4 dinar, as of August 2018.
  • You can find IUDs in Jordan. For example, you can get the insertion procedure at Istishari Hospital for 120 JOD (as of July 2017). However, you should be aware that certain hospitals and clinics only provide IUDs to married women.
  • You can find the contraceptive ring (Nuvaring) in Jordan, such as at Istishari Hospital for 75 JOD (as of July 2017).
  • You can order many forms of contraceptives at Farah Maternity Hospital. However, you should be aware that the doctors may ask for your marriage status (i.e. "For how many years have you been married?") before giving you medications or a prescription. If you are single but want to keep this information private, you may choose to say that you're divorced. For more details - Farah Hospital Mailing Address: PO Box: 5323, Amman 11183, Jordan. Phone: +962 6 460 3777. Click here to access their online contact form.

Costs[edit]

  • While costs may vary, you can expect to pay around 2-12 JOD for a one-month supply of birth control pills at Amman pharmacies (as of July 2017).[6]
  • While costs may vary, Nuvaring (the contraceptive) ring at a private hospital may cost around 75 JOD (as of July 2017).[7]
  • While costs may vary, IUD insertion at a private hospital may cost around 120 JOD (as of July 2017).[8]

Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)[edit]

Important Notes: Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy for three days (72 hours) and sometimes five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If you don't have access to dedicated EC, oral contraceptives can be used as replacement EC, but remember the following: 1) Only some contraceptives work as EC 2) Different contraceptives require different dosages and time schedules to work as EC 3) You must only use the first 21 pills in 28-day packs and 4) They may be less effective than dedicated EC. For general information on emergency contraceptives, click here and here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Jordan, you cannot legally obtain dedicated emergency contraception (the morning after pill) at pharmacies. There are no brands that are officially registered. While some pharmacies may secretly carry ECPs on the shelves, they are not actually legally allowed to do so.

However, if you need emergency contraception in Jordan, you have options. As a first option, you can use regular birth control pills as replacement ECPs (we detail how to do this below). As a second option, you can get an IUD, which can function like emergency contraception as well.[9]

Overall, Jordanian public awareness of emergency contraception options remains low. In 2012, it was found that 15.3% of Jordanian women (who were married and of reproductive age) had knowledge of emergency contraception. In 2009, it was found that 0.5% had ever used emergency contraception.[10]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You may have difficulty finding dedicated emergency contraception that's legally registered in Jordan. However, if you do have issues, you can take oral contraceptives (regular birth control pills) as replacement emergency contraception. They can also work as emergency contraception. To do this, you can do the following:
    • For these pills, take 40 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex: Ovrette
    • For these pills, take 2 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 2 more pills 12 hours later (only the first 21 pills can be used in pack): Neogynon, Nordiol, Ologyn, Ovral[11]
    • For these pills, take 4 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 4 more pills 12 hours later (only the first 21 pills can be used in pack): Lo-Femenal, Microgynon-30, Nordette, Rigevidon[12]
  • You can also use an IUD as a form of emergency contraception. However, it may be difficult to obtain one on a short notice or if you're unmarried (check the above "Contraception" section for more details).

Costs[edit]

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)[edit]

Important Notes - Learn about PEP and PrEP: If you think that you've been recently exposed to HIV (i.e. within 72 hours), seek out PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a month-long treatment to prevent HIV infection after exposure, and it may be available in your city. Take PEP as soon as possible. For more information, click here. If you are at risk of HIV exposure, seek out PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a daily oral pill that can prevent HIV infection before exposure. To learn more about PrEP, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

Jordanian Nationals & HIV

If a Jordanian national tests positive for HIV, they will receive treatment funded by the government. The treatment will typically be at the Health Ministry's center at Jabal Al Hussein, where trained physicians, nurses and psychiatrists will provide support.[13]

Foreigners & HIV

Generally speaking, foreigners who are HIV-positive are not allowed to enter Jordan. It should be clarified that, if you're a foreigner who is planning to visit Jordan for a short-term stay (one month or less), you will not be asked for a medical certificate or proof of HIV-negative status when entering the country. For this reason, you should be able to enter the country without issues. Yet it should be noted that, according to HIVTravel, "Travelers known to have HIV are denied entry at ports of entry, including land border crossings."[14] Furthermore, the laws around entry are always subject to change.

If you are foreigner who is planning to stay in Jordan for an extended period of time (for example, if you are coming as a student, worker or prospective resident), you will need to take an HIV test within a month of your arrival. The test is mandatory if you want to receive a Jordanian student permit or work permit. If you test positive, the National AIDS Programme and The Minister of the Interior will be informed of your results. You will also be deported from Jordan.[15]

Testing & Social Stigmas

Aside from the legal restrictions related to HIV and foreigners, there are also social stigmas that all people face in Jordan related to STIs. According to some Jordanian women, especially Jordanian single women, it can be an uncomfortable experience getting tested. When you get an STI test, you may be asked if you're married. Some single women (who are sexually active) choose to say that they're divorced rather than single, so as to reduce judgment and shaming. Unfortunately, many single women avoid STI tests all together due to the stigma surrounding unmarried women engaging in sexual activity.[16]

Testing Facilities[edit]

  • If you would like to go to a private clinic or laboratory to get an STI test, you can check out Biolab. They are "a group of medical diagnostic laboratories that offer a full range of laboratory services in Jordan," and have many locations in Amman. You can also check out Diagnostic Medical Laboratories, which also provides STI tests with a focus on HIV and hepatitis.
  • Istishari Hospital: They provide tests for HIV, Syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea for 175 JOD (as of July 2017).

Support[edit]

  • UNAIDS Jordan: Contact - Yamina Chakkar, Director, Regional Support Team for Middle East and North Africa. Telephone: +201093260898. Email: CHAKKARY@UNAIDS.ORG

Costs[edit]

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • If you have a yeast infection, you can ask the pharmacist for Fluconazole, which is an antifungal medication often used to treat yeast infections. While the pharmacist may not specifically have Fluconazole, the pharmacist can give you similar medication with the same (or similar) active ingredients. According to a former Amman local, when Jordanian women have yeast infections, they usually "just head over to a local pharmacy and describe their symptoms and the pharmacist will give a prescription of antibiotics without even asking when the last time you were given antibiotics or any other meds. Sadly, each pharmacy just will give you what they have in stock and people are not aware that they need to complete the full does of the antibiotics. They usually just take a few pills till the symptoms start going away."
  • If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you can also get medication at the pharmacies. See the details above (in the yeast infection paragraph) about some of the potential risks to keep in mind regarding antibiotic purchases in Jordanian pharmacies.
  • There is no Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) program in Jordan, as of July 2017.[17]

Costs[edit]

Menstruation[edit]

Note: In addition to pads and tampons, you can also use menstrual cups and menstrual underwear for your period. To learn more about menstrual cups, click here. To learn more about menstrual underwear, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

The majority of Jordanian women use pads (rather than tampons or menstrual cups). According to a former Amman resident, "99% of the time (if you're married or single, doesn't matter) women get pads... Tampons are available but [Jordanian women] don't believe it's a good idea to use them, even if you're a married women."

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • The most common menstrual products in Jordan are pads and pantyliners, and they can be found in many stores. Some of the brands you may find are Fine, Lady, Always and Tampax.
  • You can find tampons at certain pharmacies or international supermarkets, such are Carrefour or Cozmo. They are easiest to find in Amman. You should be aware that the tampons that are for sale typically have no applicators.
  • We can't find any evidence of menstrual cups (such as LadyCup, RubyCup, MoonCup, DivaCup, etc) sold in Jordanian stores. However, you can find menstrual cups sold in some online stores that deliver to Jordan. For example, from Ubuy, you can purchase DivaCup for 20 JOD, Blossom Menstrual Cup for 14 JOD, LENA Cup for 21 JOD, Dutchess Menstrual Cup (set of 2) for 14 JOD, etc (as of July 2017). These menstrual cups will be delivered to your Jordanian address.

Costs[edit]

  • According to one website, a box of tampons in Amman may cost around 3.62 JOD.[18]
  • If you buy a menstrual cup online that is delivered to your Jordanian address, you can expect to pay between 7-25 JOD, depending on the brand (not including shipping costs).

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

If you visit a gynecologist and you're married, the gynecologist may ask for the name of your husband, according to Jordanian locals. For some married women, this is an invasion of privacy, and they may not wish to include their husbands in the results of their exams. If you don't want to give the name of your husband, you can say that you're divorced. Above all, it's advised that you feel prepared for this question.

If you visit a gynecologist and you're unmarried (and sexually active), you have two choices. Your first choice is to say that you're divorced (that way, you don't have to give the name of a husband). Your second choice is to be honest and say that you're unmarried and sexually-active. The latter choice may expose you to a certain degree of shaming or judgment, particularly for local Jordanian women. No matter what you choose, the choice is yours.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can find doctors and book appointments with the Vezeeta app, which allows you to search by doctor specialty, area, insurance provider and name of doctor. You can also see patient ratings of doctors before you book on the app. In Jordan, the app currently only covers health care providers in Amman, but it also operates in other countries (Egypt).
  • For local recommendations on gynecologists, please visit our city pages, such as Amman page.

Costs[edit]

  • If you have Jordanian insurance and you're married, your insurance may cover pap smears. However, if you're single, there's a chance that your insurance will not cover pap smears.
  • For a gynecological exam at a private hospital, you may be asked to pay around 50 JOD (as of July 2017), but prices will vary.

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

Jordanian Labour Code allows for 10 weeks of paid maternity leave, and it prohibits employers from firing pregnant women who are least 6 months pregnant or on maternity leave.[19]

According to one former Amman resident, "Prenatal care is pretty good, but it depends on on if you have private medical insurance, low-income insurance or any at all. But, for the high-end folks with good insurance plans, the prenatal care is exactly as it is in America."

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

For local recommendations on ob/gyns, please visit our city pages, such as Amman page.

Costs[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Important Note: There are two main types of abortions: medical (also known as the "abortion pill") and surgical (also known as "in-clinic"). For medical abortions, you take a pill to induce abortion. For surgical abortions, a procedure is performed to induce abortion. For general information about medical and surgical abortions, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Jordan, abortion is generally illegal, and it's only permitted in certain cases. It is prohibited under the Penal Code, Law No. 16 from 1960, which states, "A woman who through any means performs an abortion on herself or consents to another person applying such means shall be punished with six months to three years imprisonment."[20] However, according to Public Health Law No. 20 of 1971, an abortion may be performed if the life or physical health of the pregnant woman is endangered by the pregnancy.[21] For the abortion to be legal, it must be approved by two physicians. Furthermore, the woman must give written consent for the abortion -- or, in cases when she cannot write or speak, her spouse or legal guardians will give formal consent. In such cases, there's no official time limit for when the abortion can be performed, according to Jordanian law.[22]

There is currently a political campaign to liberalize abortion policy in Jordan. The Sisterhood is Global (Amman chapter) is lobbying for abortion to be permitted in cases of incest or rape. However, according to one former Amman resident, "It's pretty big in Jordan that woman should not be getting abortions, whether it's for religious reasons or just cultural reasons. Women that do choose to get an abortion still can, depending on the situation and who your doctor is, and usually it's kept very secretive and not discussed that it even happened."

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • If you are pregnant and wish to obtain an abortion, you may want to consider obtaining the procedure outside of Jordan. There are many countries where abortion is generally legal, and available to women upon request, with much less restrictions than Jordan. You may consider traveling to countries like Turkey, Greece, India or Azerbaijan, where you can obtain an abortion upon request.

Costs[edit]

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

Many women in Jordan face challenges related to their autonomy and choice. However, there have been recent legislative changes in Jordan that have improved the rights and status of women in the country. In August 2017, the lower house of Jordanian Parliament voted to repeal article 308, which previously allowed rapists to escape charges if they married their victims.[23]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Emergency Hotline Numbers for Jordan: 0096 262 508 900, 0096 262 508 902, 0096 262 508 903, 0096 262 508 904, 0096 262 508 939, 0096 262 508 941
  • Jordanian Women's Union Hotline: Hotline Number:+962(6)5675729. "The main function of the hotline is to provide a confidential, non-judgmental environment in which vulnerable or abused women can freely discuss their problems and receive legal, social and psychological counselling. Once the woman has established contact with the hotline, a team of professionals – a psychologist, a social worker and/or a lawyer – will assess her needs. The team will then formulate possible solutions to her problem."

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

LGBTQ Resources:

  • Click here to learn about LGBT rights in Jordan.
  • LGBT Jordan: This is an informal Facebook group.
  • LGBT Jordanian Youth Support: This is an advocacy group on Facebook.
  • My.Kali Magazine: "My.Kali is the first LGBTQIA-inclusive — and the only regularly updated — webzine in Jordan and one of the first in the Middle East and North Africa."

General Women's Resources:

  • Al Kutba Institute for Human Development: P.O. Box 9446, Amman, Jordan
  • Arab Women's Organization of Jordan: "AWO is a grassroots non-governmental, non profit organization dedicated to make a difference in the lives of Jordanian women." Founded in 1970. Email: awo@nets.com.jo. Phone: +962 - 6 - 4 650 414
  • Exploitation Of Women Arab WON Solidarity Association: P.O.Box 926775, Amman, Jordan
  • Federation Of Professional And Business Women: c/o Office of HM the Queen, The Royal Palace, Amman, Jordan, e-mail: bpwcamm@go.com.jo
  • General Federation of Jordanian Women: P.O. Box 9796, Jabel El-Hussain, Amman, Jordan, Fax: +962-6-694-810
  • General Federation of Jordanian Women: P.O. Box 921687, Amman, Jordan, Tel: 00962 6 66 68 97, Fax: 00962 6 69 48 10, e-mail: nicw@gfjw.index.com.jo
  • Human Rights Forum for Women's Rights: PO Box 921687, Amman, Jordan. Telefax: 859873
  • Jordanian National Committee for Women: P.O. Box 5118, Amman 11183, Jordan, Tel: 962-6-825241, Fax: 962-6-827350, Email: asma@nol.com.jo
  • Jordanian Women's Union: "The Jordanian Women’s Union (JWU), headquartered in Amman, is a non-governmental, democratically elected organization that is committed to improving the status of women." Address: PO Box 960723, Amman, Jordan, Fax: 96-2-66-87-061
  • Princess Basma Women's Resource Centre (PBWRC): P.O. Box 230511, 11123 Amman, Jordan. Tel: +962 6 505 2431. Fax: +962 6 505 8199. E-mail: pbwrc@amra.nic.gov.jo
  • Sisterhood Is Global Institute - Jordan (SIGI/J): 5 Nadim Al-Mallah Street, Jebel El-Lweibdeh, Amman, Jordan. Tel/Fax: 962-6-462-3773. Email: sigi@firstnet.com.jo
  • UN Women Jordan: Address: 6 Jeddah Street, Um-Uthaina, 11195, Amman, Jordan. Phone: +962 6 520 0060.
  • Women's Department - Ministry Of Social Development And Labor: P.O. Box 8160, Amman, Jordan
  • Working Women's Club:c/o Office of HM the Queen, The Royal Palace, Amman, Jordan

References[edit]

  1. [Conversation with Jordanian local women]
  2. Global Oral Contraception Availability
  3. Free the Pill: Where on Earth
  4. Trends in Contraceptive Use Worldwide 2015
  5. [Conversation with local hospital in Amman]
  6. [Online correspondence with Amman pharmacy]
  7. [Online correspondence with Amman hospital]
  8. [Online correspondence with Amman hospital]
  9. EC Status and Availability: Jordan
  10. EC Status and Availability: Jordan
  11. Princeton EC Website
  12. Princeton EC Website
  13. 103 HIV/AIDS cases registered in Jordan in 2016
  14. JORDAN - REGULATIONS ON ENTRY, STAY AND RESIDENCE FOR PLHIV
  15. JORDAN - REGULATIONS ON ENTRY, STAY AND RESIDENCE FOR PLHIV
  16. [Conversation with Jordanian local]
  17. PrEPWatch World Map
  18. Expatistan - Tampons in Amman, Jordan
  19. Labour Code, Law No. 8 of 1996. Dated 2nd March, 1996.
  20. Jordan Penal Code of 10 April 1960
  21. [www.un.org/esa/population/publications/abortion/doc/jordan.doc Abortion Policies - Jordan]
  22. [www.un.org/esa/population/publications/abortion/doc/jordan.doc Abortion Policies - Jordan]
  23. Jordan bans rapists from escaping justice by marrying victim