When in Copenhagen, wear a condom, Swedes warn

High rates of sex-related diseases have health authorities urging caution


A report released this week by the Danish board of health Sundhedsstyrelsen and the Swedish safe-sex institute, Smittsskyddinstitutet, shows that nine out of 1,000 Copenhageners have acquired Chlamydia, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), in the past year.

The report, published on behalf of the city of Malmö and SwedenÂ’s Region Scania, has prompted two Swedish safe-sex organisations to warn Swedes travelling to Copenhagen that having sex with Danes is a risk. 

In recent years Danes have developed a higher incidence of HIV and other STIs than their neighbours over the Øresund Bridge. In a press release about the Chlamydia report, Emma SkarpÃ¥s from the Swedish sex-information association Riksförbundet för Sexuell Upplysning, also said that Denmark tops the list as the source of ‘foreign HIV infections’ in Scania. 

And last year, while discussing rising rates of HIV infections, professor Jens Lundgren with the Copenhagen HIV Programme at the University of Copenhagen told DR news: “There have never been so many people with HIV in [Denmark].”

Copenhagen is the closest big city to Scania, and is a popular weekend nightspot for Swedes living nearby. But many tend to forget that Denmark has different national laws regarding sex; for example, it is legal to solicit and purchase sex, and people are not legally required to inform sex partners about their STI status.

Ultimately, this means that anyone having casual sex in Copenhagen should take care to protect themselves. In response to the Chlamydia reports, Jack Lukkerz, a social worker from RFSU, said: “Our advice to Swedes in Scania is that it’s no problem to have sex in Copenhagen as long as you remember to use condoms.”

Bjarne B. Christensen, the secretary general of the Danish family planning association Sex & Samfund, told Berlingske newspaper that he hoped the warnings would lead to an increased focus on safe sex, rather than on regional finger-pointing.

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