• Sweden edition
 
Swedish law behind rise in HIV cases: experts

Swedish law behind rise in HIV cases: experts

Published: 01 Dec 2010 15:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Dec 2010 15:15 GMT+01:00

"Today, when there is effective treatment, HIV is no longer a fatal disease. There is no study that shows that punishment for HIV transmission reduces the spread of the virus," wrote Inger Forsgren, Anders Karlsson, Åsa Regnér and Per Ole Träskman in a opinion piece published in the Dagens Nyheter daily on Wednesday.

Forsgren is the chairperson of HIV-Sweden, Karlsson the head doctor of Södersjukhuset's Venhälsan, Regnér the general secretary of the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (Riksförbundet för Sexuell Upplysning, RFSU) and Träskman a criminal law professor at Lund University.

"The law against infectious diseases should undergo a thorough overhaul, the duty to inform abolished and only those who deliberately transmit HIV prosecuted," they added.

Agneta Holmström, the head of the infectious diseases unit at the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), said that she does not know if the duty of disclosure, which requires all those thought to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease to come forward for testing in order to track the spread, has resulted in a spike in HIV cases.

"That's something for the government department to look into if they decide to look over this act. But our agency, we will continue to look into this and talk to the Swedish Institute of Infectious Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet - SMI) to do a study," she told The Local on Wednesday.

She added that occasionally, it may involve a misunderstanding when it comes to ordering people to test for STDs, such as having the wrong address on file for the individual.

Among all STDs, Holmström said the one that poses the greatest concern in Sweden remains chlamydia because the general population are "very much aware" of the risks involved with the other diseases, saying that HIV is stable in Sweden aside from occasion outbreaks among drug users.

"They don't think chlamydia is a serious disease, it's not life-threatening, they don't think they have to go and get tested. There has been an explosion in the last few years since 2007. It is very difficult to find the people you have relations with," she said.

Sweden's first HIV case was diagnosed in 1982, before AIDS was properly diagnosed by the US Centers for Disease Control. Slightly more than 5,000 people in Sweden currently live with AIDS, said Viveca Urwitz, the former head of the SMI's HIV prevention unit.

Up until December 2009, a total of 8,935 HIV infection cases had been reported in Sweden, of which 30 percent involved women and 2,310 were diagnosed as AIDS. A total of 486 new cases were reported last year.

Slightly more than 50 percent of the new cases were reported in Stockholm, 14 percent in Västra Götaland and Skåne and the remainder across the country.

Urwitz revealed that more than half of all new diagnosed HIV cases in Sweden every year are among new migrants from high-risk countries, with Thailand and Ethiopia the two most common.

"A lot of them don't know, some do and some don't," Urwitz told The Local regarding HIV-infected migrants to Sweden.

She emphasised that these migrants are not refugees, but those who come to Sweden for family or work purposes.

Overall, the number of people living with HIV in Sweden is slowly growing, particularly among high-risk groups such as men who have sex with other men, intravenous drug users and people who buy and sell sex.

Both Holmström and Urwitz believe that the government's measures to combat HIV and AIDS are effective, but Urwitz pointed out health care and education, the main drivers behind prevention, are decentralised in Sweden, so it is difficult to ensure the same treatment across the country.

Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

16:16 December 1, 2010 by locaxy
"Among all STDs, Holmström said the one that poses the greatest concern in Sweden remains chlamydia because the general population are "very much aware" of the risks involved with the other diseases, saying that HIV is stable in Sweden aside from occasion outbreaks among drug users."

Sloppy journalism! "Drug users" in Sweden are mostly boozers and caffeinated people. The same way "drug users" in Bolivia are mostly coca chewing and tobacco smoking people.

Even when only accounting for so-called illegal drugs, intravenous delivery is a tiny minority. 90%+ of people snort, smoke or ingest.
16:44 December 1, 2010 by SouthAfrican_in_Sweden
Disclosure is not necessary in South Africa. Following the current reasoning this means that there should be a reduction in new cases. It is very silly to focus on one thing that is important to you and assigning causality to it without thinking about what you are saying.

I think it would be better if more diseases are disclosed rather than fewer. This will reduce the risk of exploitation.
16:52 December 1, 2010 by calebian22
'It is very difficult to find the people you have relations with"

That is the problem in a nutshell. If you don't know it, don't hit it.
17:40 December 1, 2010 by engagebrain
Despite drug treatments having HIV is still causes many problems and is likely to reduce live expectancy and quality of life. I and I suspect others would be pretty angry if someone who knew they were HIV + failed inform me and, assuming I consented, failed to take suitable precautions.

The article states that there is no evidence that legal punishment alters transmission rates, but there is in fact simply no evidence either way. The basic assumption must be that the possibility of legal action does alter behavour - but only if there actually is action taken against those who pass on STDs.
22:43 December 1, 2010 by Tennin
No matter what type of STD someone has, they should be required to tell their partner about it. At least they have a chance to decide for themself if they want to still have sex or not, and to use protection.
22:57 December 1, 2010 by Rishonim
With the careless sexual behaviour in Sweden, I am surprised we don't have an AIDS pandemic here. One would think people are educated enough to know that dipping the stick without a rain coat has it consequences. I think people from poorer nations have better awareness of STD that here in Sweden.
08:38 December 2, 2010 by izbz
I think they should really be a law that every person should be tested for HIV, it is hard to say cause alot of people do not even know they have. Like say some even got it from blood transfusion in the early stage of AIDS pandemic specially in Asia. those migrating to Sweden should be really tested before being accepted.

But thank God that HIV positive can have the virus control by medication and the dedication of the doctor who are specialise in that, Hopefully they will be able to find a cure for this curse,

Blaming it on Ethopia or Thailand is not really the main thing but blame that on ourselves for not using condom. Maybe can blame it on the monkeys that startedf all that instead!!!!!!
09:00 December 2, 2010 by Snöregn
KEEP the duty to inform. If anyone is sick, there IS a duty to inform, ETHICALLY!

And a pandemic will arise if the country continues to believe that the disease will never touch us in Sweden because it "comes from immigrants" or "man on man" relations or unless you have "had sex with an African".

Demand to be tested and may Sweden smell their own coffee!
21:48 December 2, 2010 by Da Goat
They should treat Aids like Foot and mouth and wipe it out!

the population control bit of it is gone and only the milk the poor saps money bit is left!
20:23 December 3, 2010 by sureiam
every infectous disease person should be encountable in front of the law NOT only HIV......................................

IN MY MIND I BELIEVE THE IS AS INGORANT AS ANYONE ELSE IN THE STREET ABT HIV:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

So o finger picking...............all people that have not been close to loved one who affected with this "not deadly desease, shall never know abt it and will never make effort to know abt it , they will just remain as ignorant as i the 70s and 80s when it was deadly.........................................and high 5, tumb up for HIV infectious people in Sweden or other countries of remaining unknown!!!!!!!!!
Today's headlines
National
Teens in intensive care after school 'initiation'
Photo: Peder Skrivares school

Teens in intensive care after school 'initiation'

School inspectors are investigating after an initiation ceremony at a high school in Varberg in south west Sweden left four girls in hospital. READ  

National
Pirate Bay Swede 'mistreated' in jail
Peter Sunde. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede 'mistreated' in jail

The brother of Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde has questioned the conditions of his brother's Swedish jail, slamming both the institution and the guards. READ  

Elections 2014
Fresh election fears in divided Sweden
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson may not support a Social Democrat budget. Photo: TT

Fresh election fears in divided Sweden

UPDATED: The leaders of Sweden's main political parties have been called to parliament as speculation grows that the Sweden Democrats could hold the key to new elections. READ  

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing... the Stockholm collection
Photo: Imagebank Sweden

Introducing... the Stockholm collection

Moving to Stockholm, or just dreaming about it? Either way, this is your ultimate guide: for housing, finances, insurance, business, and so much more. READ  

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

Time for some luxury this week - we're heading to a sprawling Eskilstuna property with a location and view to die for. READ  

National
Row over viral 'Nazi receipt' in Swedish shop
A cashier in a Coop supermarket: Photo: TT

Row over viral 'Nazi receipt' in Swedish shop

A photo of a till receipt with the Nazi slogan "Sieg Heil" printed on it has gone viral in Sweden, with supermarket chain Coop launching an internal investigation. READ  

Society
Sweden tops 'financial well-being' rankings
Sweden's family-friendly policies contribute to well-being. Photo: TT

Sweden tops 'financial well-being' rankings

Swedes have fewer money concerns than people from any other European country, according to the latest major report on global well-being. READ  

National
King Carl XVI Gustaf 'unhurt' after crash
The King of Sweden. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustaf 'unhurt' after crash

UPDATED: Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf has been involved in a car accident but is unhurt, the Royal family's press office has confirmed to The Local. READ  

Elections 2014
Migration minister calls Feminists 'a dark force'

Migration minister calls Feminists 'a dark force'

Sweden's Migration Minister has said in a Facebook post that both the Sweden Democrats and the Feminist Initiative parties were "dark, gloomy, and destructive forces". READ  

The Local List
Ten Swedish designs that made life better
Playsam

Ten Swedish designs that made life better

Sweden has produced an indecent number of design classics. We take a look at some of the best - from toys to furniture, fabric designs to telephones, packaging to super-safe headwear. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Blog updates

17 September

Deep election analysis (Blogweiser) »

"You think you’re bad? Well I’m American. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFbomLID0vU Deep deep analysis on Swedish election results. Vlog post: https://t.co/tjQgfa5Yie #svpol #val2014 #politics pic.twitter.com/oEK5ADFT8L — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 17, 2014 " READ »

 

15 September

Liten, litet, små & lilla (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej igen! Have you ever been confused about when to use “liten”, “litet”, “små” and “lilla”? Today I’m going to sort out how use the adjective “liten” (small) and the different forms of it. Liten or litet? “Liten” is the form we will use when referring to a noun with the gender “en”. For example: Min pappa har en..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
National
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Politics
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

854
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN