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NLM AIDSLINE
The silence not as powerful in Sweden. [interview by Valerie Michele Hoskins]
Falkenstrom B
October 30, 1999
Unique Identifier : AIDSLINE AIDS/99704354

Bertil Falkenstrom, President of RFHP, which is an organization of support groups for Swedish people with HIV, discusses what life is like for HIV-positive individuals in Sweden. Under the Communicable Diseases Act, all doctor visits are free for Swedish citizens and residents who are HIV-positive. Medication is subsidized, so a patient will never pay more than $150 per year on medication. There are also counseling services available through the public insurance agency to supplement physical treatment. Despite encouragement to return to work, Falkenstrom cites discrimination in the workplace as a challenge for HIV-positive employees. Discrimination is also prevalent toward immigrant populations with HIV, especially Blacks from African countries. RFHP has difficulty designing informational programs to suit these groups, and since HIV-positive immigrants fear discrimination among their own peers, they don't readily participate in developing these programs. Individuals that are tested may remain anonymous, however, they must identify themselves to their doctors, who are required to report it. Partner notification is also handled discretely through counselors or social workers, but this method does not appear efficient.

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