Swiss Federal Office of Public Health amends its safer sex guidelines

HIV diagnoses stable – sexually transmitted diseases on the rise

The latest figures from the Federal Office of Public Health indicate that new diagnoses of HIV in Switzerland in 2016 have remained steady. By contrast, reported cases of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have been rising for a number of years: in 2016 gonorrhoea rose by 20 percent, syphilis by 15 percent and chlamydia by eight percent.

The reasons for this rise are many and varied. For one thing, tests can show up several pathogens at the same time and thus also reveal asymptomatic cases. For another thing, testing campaigns raise awareness among groups at risk, thus leading to more frequent testing. The consequence is that more people with STIs have received treatment and the spread of infections has been mitigated.

That said, it must be assumed that the rise in reported cases is attributable to more than just these two groups: partly, at least, there is a real increase in STI incidence. This reality has prompted the Federal Office of Public Health to tweak its safer sex guidelines this year. The first guideline remains the same: “Vaginal and anal sex with condom” to prevent HIV transmission and reduce the risk of other STIs. The second guideline is new: “And because everyone likes it their own way: do your personalised safer sex check at now”.This check at offers personalised prevention recommendations. Also available is a partner notification tool (link at that allows sexual partners to be notified anonymously if the notifier becomes infected with HIV or another STI.




Federal Office of Public Health (2017): LOVE LIFE: HIV-Diagnosen stabil, andere sexuell übertragbare Infektionen nehmen zu. Retrieved November 27, 2017, from