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Finland

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OVERVIEW

Generally speaking, Finland has a high-quality health care system, and its public health care system is considered among the best in the world.[1] It is common for staff to speak Finnish, English[2], and other languages. The country has universal health care; all residents can access the health care system, which is funded through tax dollars.[3]

There are many forms of legal contraception available, including condoms, pills, patches, and IUDs. You don't a prescription for condoms, but it is required for most forms of contraception. You can access emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) without a prescription at pharmacies, and there are no age restrictions regarding who can purchase them. Regarding STIs, there are many clinics to receive tests for HIV and other STIs, and there are no travel or residency restrictions related to one's HIV status. There is also a wide variety of menstrual products available in Finnish stores, and the menstrual cup brand Lunette company is headquartered in Finland.

The quality of health care at public hospitals and clinics tends to be very good, so many people use public facilities. However, private health care facilities are also available. We have included information on recommended health care facilities on this page. In addition, abortion is legally permitted under many circumstances in Finland, which are explained in the "Abortion" section.

Contraception (Birth Control)[edit]

General Note: There are many types of contraceptives, also known as "birth control," including IUDs, oral contraceptives, patches, shots, and condoms, etc. If you would like to view a full list, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Finland, you can purchase condoms without a prescription at pharmacies. However, you need a prescription to obtain most forms of contraception, such as birth control pills, rings, patches, implants, and IUDs.[4] [5] You can obtain a prescription from a doctor at a health center (such as a hospital or clinic), family planning clinic, or from a private gynecologist. Once you have obtained a prescription, you can find contraception at pharmacies, health stations, maternity clinics, and school health care centers.[6]

In 2015, it was estimated that about 75% of Finnish women (who between ages 15-49, and married/in unions), which is roughly similar to the Northern European average (77%). It is estimated that about 8% of Finnish women have unmet family planning needs.[7]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Tip: You can call the Centralised Contraceptive Advice Service for information (tel. 09 310 45566).
  • You can find condoms(kondomi) at many venues, such as supermarkets, pharmacies (apteekki), service stations, and kiosks. No prescription is required. Some brands you may find are RFSU, Sultan, Durex, Okamoto, Vitalis Super Thin, and SKYN.[8]
  • You can find birth control pills (e-pilleri), including mini-pills (minipilleri), at pharmacies. You need to first obtain a prescription for the pill at a health clinic (terveysasema), a family planning clinic (ehkäisyneuvonta), or from a gynecologist. You can visit the health care provider alone or with a partner. Once you have a prescription, you can directly buy birth control pills from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.[9]
  • You can find the contraceptive patch (ehkäisylaastari) in Finland. You will need to obtain a prescription before you can buy the patch. You can obtain a prescription at a health clinic (terveysasema), a family planning clinic (ehkäisyneuvonta), or from a gynecologist. You can visit the health care provider alone or with a partner. Once you have a prescription, you can directly buy birth control pills from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.[9]
  • You can find the contraceptive ring (ehkäisyrengas) in Finland. You will need to obtain a prescription before you can buy the ring. You can obtain a prescription at a health clinic (terveysasema), a family planning clinic (ehkäisyneuvonta), or from a gynecologist. You can visit the health care provider alone or with a partner. Once you have a prescription, you can directly buy birth control pills from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.[9]
  • You can find IUDs/contraceptive coil (kuparikierukka) in Finland. There are both hormonal and copper IUDs available. You will need to visit a health care provider at a hospital, clinic, or family planning center in order to obtain and be fitted for the IUD.[9]
  • You can find the contraceptive implant (ehkäisykapseli) in Finland.[9] You will need to visit a health care provider at a hospital, clinic, or family planning center in order to receive the contraception.

Costs[edit]

  • The city of Helsinki offers free condoms, which are available at health care units.[6]
  • The city of Helsinki offers free first placement of IUD (copper or hormonal).[6]
  • For those under 25 years old, the city of Helsinki offers certain contraceptive methods (i.e. birth control pills and vaginal rings) free of charge for one year.[6]
  • For those under 25 years old, the city of Helsinki offers the IUD (copper or hormonal) and contraceptive implants free of charge.[6]
  • For people who have just had an abortion or who are substance abuse service clients, the city offers free IUDs (copper or hormonal) and contraceptive implants.[6]

Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)[edit]

Important Notes: Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy for three days (72 hours) and sometimes five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. If you don't have access to dedicated EC, oral contraceptives can be used as replacement EC, but remember the following: 1) Only some contraceptives work as EC 2) Different contraceptives require different dosages and time schedules to work as EC 3) You must only use the first 21 pills in 28-day packs and 4) They may be less effective than dedicated EC. For general information on emergency contraceptives, click here and here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Finland, emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) are available over-the-counter at pharmacies. No prescription is required.[10] Furthermore, the use of emergency contraceptives (such as pills and IUDs) are included in the national family planning policies, and health care providers share information about emergency contraception to patients during exams. A range of people are allowed to distribute emergency contraceptive pills in Finland, including pharmacists, nurses, midwives, and physicians.[11]

There are currently no age restrictions on purchasing emergency contraceptive pills in Finland. Until 2015, individuals who were under 15 years old needed a prescription in order to purchase LNG emergency contraception, but this requirement has been lifted.[12]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can find emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) at pharmacies, clinics, and family planning clinics, and they are sold over-the-counter. Some brands you may find are NorLevo 1.5mg, Postinor 1500, and ellaOne.[13]
  • Note: The longest-lasting EC is currently ellaOne. It lasts up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Check to see if your country carries ellaOne. If your country doesn't carry ellaOne, copper IUDs may also prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after unprotected sex. If none of these options are available, and it's been over 3 days since you had unprotected sex, you can still take EC, which may work up to 5 days. Note that EC pills are not 100% effective and should be taken as soon as possible.

Costs[edit]

  • You can expect to pay around € 18.87 for LNG emergency contraceptives and € 33.60 for UPA emergency contraceptives, as of 2013.[14]

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)[edit]

Important Notes - Learn about PEP and PrEP: If you think that you've been recently exposed to HIV (i.e. within 72 hours), seek out PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a month-long treatment to prevent HIV infection after exposure, and it may be available in your city. Take PEP as soon as possible. For more information, click here. If you are at risk of HIV exposure, seek out PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a daily oral pill that can prevent HIV infection before exposure. To learn more about PrEP, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Finland, there are no known travel or residency restrictions for people with HIV/AIDS. This means that you can enter the country, regardless of your HIV status, and you should not be deported if you test positive for HIV while you are in the country. Furthermore, legal residents of Finland are entitled to the same HIV treatment as Finnish nationals.[15]

Testing Facilities[edit]

Support[edit]

  • AIDS hotline without regional access code: +358 20 327 000
  • Helsingin Ylioppistollinen Keskussairaala: This hospital is supposed to have the best HIV treatment in Finland. Address: Haartmaninkatu 4, FIN-00290 Helsinki. Phone: +358 9 4711
  • The Finnish Red Cross: They provide counseling for people with HIV/AIDS. Address in Helsinki: Suomen Punainen Risti, Tehtaankatu 1 a, FIN-00140 Helsinki
  • HIV Foundation/Finnish AIDS Council: Unioninkatu 45 K, FIN-00170 Helsinki, Fax: +358 9 454 320 760.
  • Finnish AIDS Council: E-mail: Bengt.Lindblom@aidscouncil.fi
  • Positiiviset ry - HivFinland: Address: Paciuksenkaari 27, 00270 Helsinki, Finland. Phone: +358 6925 441. Fax: +358 6925 447

Costs[edit]

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can find the HPV vaccine in Finland. There is a nationwide HPV vaccination program, which was launched in 2013.[16]
  • You can find PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) in Finland, but most people access it in other countries, like Germany or Sweden, and bring it back to Finland. This is because PrEP is not currently subsidized by the government, as of 2018, so most people find it unaffordable (about 800 euros per month, as of 2018). Meanwhile, if people purchase PrEP in other EU countries, they can expect to pay around 50-70 euros per month.[17] [18]

Costs[edit]

Menstruation[edit]

Note: In addition to pads and tampons, you can also use menstrual cups and menstrual underwear for your period. To learn more about menstrual cups, click here. To learn more about menstrual underwear, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can find pads/pantyliners in supermarkets, pharmacies, and corner stores.
  • You can find tampons in supermarkets, pharmacies, and corner stores.
  • You can find menstrual cups in Finland. The global menstrual cup brand, Lunette, was founded in Finland. The cups are made in Finland with medical grade silicone. There are hundreds of stores that sell Lunette in Finland; you can view this map to find a vendor in your area. You can also contact Lunette via phone (+358 50 3554064) or email (info@lunette.fi). There are many online vendors that sell a variety menstrual brands, such as DivaCup, LadyCup, and Lunette, as well. For example, you can check out Pehmopeput, Ecoshop Ekolo, and Kanto, all of which are online shops that sell menstrual cups, among other products.

Costs[edit]

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Lääkärikeskus Aava: Open since 1964. Call +358 10 3803838. Email: info@aava.fi
  • HYKSin Oy: This is part of Helsinki University Hospital, which is the the biggest university hospital in Finland. They provide general gynecological services, in addition to gynecological cancer treatments, hysteroscopy, and childbirth services. Address: Haartmaninkatu 2, Helsinki, Finland. Customer service +358 10 328 1900
  • The Women’s Hospital at Helsinki University Hospital:"The Women’s Hospital is part of the Helsinki University Hospital (HUH) and provides demanding specialist medical care for women and newborn babies. In the HUS area complicated pregnancies and births including very premature births are centralized to the Women's Hospital." Services include emergency (clinic is open 24/7), childbirth, laboratory, imaging and physiology. Address: Haartmaninkatu 2, Helsinki, P.O. Box 140, FIN-00029 HUS. Operator: 09 4711 (Int. tel. +358 9 4711). Information: 09 471 72889 (Int. tel. +358 9 471 72889)

Costs[edit]

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Finland, there is a maternity, paternity, and parental leave policy, which is found in the Employment Contracts Act. According to the law, parents are entitled to take off 105 week days off. Under paternity leave, parents are entitled to take off 54 week days. Parents are entitled to take part time or part time parental leave, and the spouse or partner can take off time if the relationship is officially registered.[19]

Finland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world, with 3 deaths per 100,000 live births.[20]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Helsinki University Hospital (HUS): "​Approximately 18,000 babies are born in Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District hospitals every year. Nearly every third Finn is born in a HUS hospital. HUS has four maternity hospitals: Hyvinkää, Espoo and Lohja Hospitals and the Women’s Hospital. In addition, Jorvi Hospital, Länsi-Uusimaa Hospital and Porvoo Hospital performs Maternity Outpatient Clinic operations, including ultrasound screenings. Treatment in the maternity hospital is family-oriented and baby-friendly, and is based on the wishes of the mother, while utilising modern monitoring devices." Tel. +358 9 4711

Costs[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Important Note: There are two main types of abortions: medical (also known as the "abortion pill") and surgical (also known as "in-clinic"). For medical abortions, you take a pill to induce abortion. For surgical abortions, a procedure is performed to induce abortion. For general information about medical and surgical abortions, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

The abortion laws in Finland can be found in Law No. 239 of 24 March 1970, which was amended in 1985.

In the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, abortion is legally available under many circumstances, which include: if the pregnancy endangers the pregnant person's health or life, if the pregnant person is under 17 years old or over 40 years old, if the pregnant person has already given birth to 4 children, if the pregnant person is unable to take care of the child due to illness, or if the birth of the child would cause an undue burden or "strain" on the pregnant person.[21] [22] The definition of what is considered an undue burden or strain is rather open-ended, so this reason can apply to many people.

In the first twenty weeks of pregnancy, abortion is legally permitted when the pregnancy endangers the pregnant person's health, if the pregnant person is under 17 years old, or if there is another reason that is approved by the National Board of Medico-legal Affairs. In the first twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, abortion is permitted when there is severe risk of fetal malformation, which has been detected. Finally, abortion is always permitted, no matter the stage of the pregnancy, when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman.[23] [22]

Before an abortion is performed, it needs to be approved by one or two doctors (the norm is two doctors). Once you have received approval, you will receive the proper documentation, which is typically the AB 1 form, which is signed by the doctor. You will then be referred to a hospital to receive your abortion.[24]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can find abortion services at health care facilities, such as hospitals or clinics.
  • Väestöliitto: Address #1, Iso Roobertinkatu 20-22A, Helsinki 00120; PO Box 849, Helsinki, 00101, Finland. Tel: +358(9) 228 050. Fax: +358(9) 612 12 11; Address #2: Kalevankatu 16 A, 2nd floor, Helinski, Finland. Tel: +358(9) 228 05264

Costs[edit]

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Emergency phone number: Call 112
  • Rape Crisis Center Tukinainen: "National resource centre which provides support and guidance for people who have been sexually assaulted/ or abused, and their families... Rape Crisis Center Tukinainen is the only centre in Finland. Tukinainen has two offices. The main office is in Helsinki and the other is in Jyväskylä. Both offices serve our helpline, which is national... + 358 800 97899 (Monday to Thursday 9am-3pm, Saturday and Sunday 3-9pm), Legal consultation +358 800 97895 (Monday to Thursday 1-4pm). Note! When clients call us from abroad calls cost, but otherwise they are free." Languages: Finnish and English.
  • Finnish Police - Domestic Violence
  • Nettiturvakoti: This is an online service provided by the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters.

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

  • Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
  • "Väestöliitto (The Family Federation of Finland): "Väestöliitto (The Family Federation of Finland) is an umbrella organization for agencies working in the field of health and social affairs in relation to population and family policy issues. It offers free sex education services to young people through the Open House Youth Counselling Service which provides personal and telephone counselling on topics such as sexuality, contraception, and dating. It runs programmes in schools to highlight population and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues."
  • Naisasialiito Unioni: Email: toimistosihteeri@naisunioni.fi
  • Finland - Family Planning 2020: "In 2017, Finland committed an additional EUR21.3 million to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development also pledged an additional EUR20 million for She Decides, a global movement to promote, provide, and protect the rights of women and girls. The Finnish government also joined the call to action for the Global Roadmap for Data, Monitoring, and Accountability for Family Planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Crises by signing a pledge to address the global data gap for SRHR of adolescents."
  • Equaldex China: This website provides information on LGBTQ rights and laws in Finland.
  • LGBT Rights in Finland: What Travellers Should Know Before Going

References[edit]

  1. Study: Finland’s health care system among best in the world
  2. US Embassy of Finland - Medical Assistance
  3. Healthcare in Finland
  4. Global Oral Contraception Availability
  5. Free the Pill: Where on Earth?
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 City of Helsinki - Contraception
  7. Trends in Contraceptive Use Worldwide 2015
  8. Popular Condoms
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Living in Finland - Contraception
  10. EC Status and Availability - Finland
  11. ECEC - Finland
  12. ECEC - Finland
  13. EC Status and Availability - Finland
  14. EC Status and Availability - Finland
  15. FINLAND - REGULATIONS ON ENTRY, STAY AND RESIDENCE FOR PLHIV
  16. Human Papillomavirus and Related Diseases Report - FINLAND, December 2018
  17. Finns buying HIV prevention drugs from Germany because they're cheaper
  18. Checkpoint - PrEP
  19. Maternity, paternity and parental leave
  20. CIA World Factbook - MATERNAL MORTALITY RATE
  21. InfoFinland - Abortion
  22. 22.0 22.1 FINLAND. Law No. 239 of 24 March 1970 on the interruption of pregnancy
  23. Women on Waves - Abortion law Finland
  24. HUS - Termination of pregnancy