The Joint United Nation’s Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has set goals for its 2011 – 2015 strategy: to achieve zero new infections; zero AIDS-related deaths; and zero discrimination. How could a country like Finland reach these goals? Or, more pertinently, what are the obstacles on the way to reaching them?
Finland is a country of 5.3 million people, with less than 3,000 people living with HIV. According to the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland and UNAIDS the adult prevalence rate is 0.1%.
Finland offers its residents universal health care. Even though health promotion, including prevention of diseases, has been the main focus of Finnish health care policies for decades, HIV/AIDS is not considered a major public health concern.
With the high level and coverage of health care in Finland, the low prevalence of HIV and the history of health promotion in the country, one might expect that reaching the UNAIDS goals would be comparatively easy. Instead, partly because of the low prevalence, there are some major obstacles in the way.