Background: There is paucity of data on Healthcare Providers (HCPs) caring for people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Jordan.
Objective: We aimed to understand HCPs’ knowledge, attitude, stigma, and practices, to assess the gaps in HIV care in Jordan.
Methods: We conducted recorded in-depth interviews with all five HCPs working at the only HIV Service Center in Jordan, using semi-structured questions in 2021. Content analysis was performed.
Results: Several organizational challenges were identified. Only one had received HIV training. All were uncertain of updated recommendations with little knowledge of international guidelines, mother-to-child transmission, contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and prophylaxis. Four HCPs perform counseling, focusing on easing anxieties, risk modification and the importance of compliance to treatment. However, their counseling on contraception, risk of transmission, STIs, and NCDs is inadequate, and they have little-to-no experience with prophylaxis. Most had a positive attitude towards PLHIV, especially HCPs working at the center the longest, encouraging marriage and reproduction. Most do not approve of mandatory testing, or of breeching patient confidentiality. They repetitively described risky behavior as ‘immoral behavior’, empathizing more with patients who caught HIV through blood transfusion or birth, and demonstrating embedded stigmatized beliefs. They reported PLHIV experience anticipated stigma and stigma by their general community including by other HCPs.
Conclusion: This is the first study on HCPs caring for PLHIV in Jordan. It highlights the suboptimal knowledge, practices, and stigma which improve with greater participatory exposure to HIV care. HCPs had an overall positive attitude, more evident in HCPs working at the clinic the longest.