“Shit happens,” 39-year-old Joakim Berlin tells The Local.
In the course of a lifetime, that could mean missing the bus, crashing the car, losing a job or even a relationship. In 1991, at the age of 17, Berlin received a diagnosis that was, at the time, tantamount to a death sentence. Without having committed a crime.
He had HIV.
"The AIDS epidemic was so shocking for Swedish society because we were a fabulous country that fixed everything and could save the world - that was the general opinion about Sweden, in Sweden," he says.
"And then came this disease; this virus that was just killing people."
Over the last two decades, Berlin has had time to reflect, which goes some way into putting that remarkable opening remark into some context.
Yet he vividly recalls certain moments, such as the time the news was delivered.
"The doctor who told me started to cry so I ended up comforting her when I got my diagnosis," he says.
Berlin made an early decision to be open about his status.
"It was about showing people you can get HIV when you are young – that anyone can get it," he explains.
But it had its repercussions. The head of his college demanded that he study elsewhere and his parents wanted him to keep the news within the close family.
"They were shocked and ashamed that they hadn’t raised me well enough," he adds. "They didn’t want my cousins or my aunts or my grandmother to know I had HIV. But I did, because I wanted support when I became ill," Berlin recalls.
"I thought I was going to die and that was a fact then - before the medications we have today."