The preventative work in Sweden is based on the national strategy against HIV/AIDS and certain other communicable diseases. The groups prioritised in the preventative work against HIV and STIs are
- men who have sex with men
- people who inject drugs
- youngsters and young adults
- people who travel abroad
- persons who have sex for payment
- pregnant women.
The work also covers persons who live with HIV.
The diseases which the Public Health Agency of Sweden monitors within the framework of the national strategy are HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis. In Sweden approximately 7,000 persons in total currently live with a known HIV diagnosis and health care contact in Sweden, which corresponds to approximately 69 cases per 100,000 inhabitants or 0.07 per cent of the population. In 2015, 450 new cases of HIV infection were reported, of which 60 per cent were men. Of the cases, 18 percent identified Sweden as the transmission country. Heterosexual transmission routes dominated among women while sex between men was the most common transmission route among men.
Of the sexually transmitted diseases belonging to notifiable diseases, chlamydia infection is the most common and the chlamydia incidence is at a high level compared to other STIs (approximately 36,000 cases per year). Since the second half of the 1990s the gonorrhoea trend has been increasing and 1,624 cases of gonorrhoea were reported in 2016 (incidence 16.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants). The cases of syphilis have increased during the 2000s and 330 cases of syphilis were reported in 2015 (incidence 3.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants). Gonorrhoea and syphilis are more common among men who have sex with men than among the rest of the population.
The role of the Public Health Agency of Sweden is to work towards restricting the spread and consequences of HIV for society and for individuals, and to work towards creating openness about HIV and counteracting stigmatisation and discrimination of persons who live with HIV infection by, among other things, promoting development initiatives and long-term preventative work. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has also been assigned to follow-up and coordinate the national follow-up of Sweden's undertakings in accordance with the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations concerning HIV/AIDS.
The work of the Public Health Agency of Sweden comprises:
- assuming responsibility for knowledge-building within the area and conveying knowledge and guidance to the relevant stakeholders at national, regional and local level. This includes follow-up of the preventative initiatives against HIV and STIs which take place nationally, regionally and locally.
- follow-up of the development and reporting, including to the UN and the EU.
- allocating state grants for preventative initiatives against HIV and other STIs at local, regional and national level.
The work takes place in collaboration with county councils, municipalities in big urban areas and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).