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Zürich

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Switzerland / Zürich
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OVERVIEW

In Switzerland, you can obtain contraception, and you can purchase condoms without a prescription. However, you will need a prescription for most forms of contraception, such as pills or an intra-uterine device (IUD). Emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) are available in pharmacies, and no prescription is required. You can get an STI test at various clinics and health centers, and there are organizations and health groups that offer STI education and support. Abortion is fully legal and available upon request in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Switzerland has one of the longest lifespans in the world. The majority of the populace is Swiss (70%, as of 2017), but there are also many foreigners, particularly from other European countries, such as German, Italy, Portugal, and France.[1] In terms of religion, 41% of the population consider religion to be an important part of their daily lives[2], and the most commonly practiced religions are Catholicism and Protestantism.[1]

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 Switzerland, you can purchase condoms without a prescription at pharmacies. However, you need a prescription to obtain most other forms of contraception, such as birth control pills, implants, injectables, and IUDs.[3] [4]

In 2015, it was estimated that about 77% of Swiss women (who were married/in unions and between the ages of 15-49) were using any form of contraception, including traditional methods. This was higher than the Western European average (70% of women).[5]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Tip: For a list of contraceptive options, you can check out this overview from SANTE SEXUELLE Suisse.
  • You can purchase condoms in supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, erotic stores, and from online vendors, such as the Swiss AIDS Foundation online shop. No prescription is needed.
  • You can purchase oral contraceptives (birth control pills) at pharmacies, but you'll need to first have a prescription.
  • We know that the contraceptive ring (Nuvaring) was available in Swiss pharmacies in the past, but we'll need more updated information. You need a prescription before you can purchase the ring.

Costs[edit]

  • The cost of contraception is often not covered by Swiss health insurance.[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 Switzerland, emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) are available over-the-counter at pharmacies. No prescription is required, and there are no age restrictions on who can purchase the pills.[7] For a few years, ellaOne was available at pharmacies by prescription-only, but it has been available over-the-counter at pharmacies since November 2015.[8]

There are national policies and guidelines regarding emergency contraception. In 2014, a paper was published by a team of gynecologists, pharmacies, and family planning center health workers. The paper outlines three forms of acceptable emergency contraception, according to the team, which include: levonorgestrel EC pills, ulipristal acetate EC pills, and copper IUDs. The paper is available in German and French. Furthermore, in 2016, the Interdisciplinary Group of Experts on EC (IENK) developed a set of tools for pharmacists, which included a decision making chart, protocols to how to handle a missed pill, a guide for how to refer women to health services, and more.[8] You can read these guidelines in French.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can find emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) at pharmacies, and they are sold over-the-counter. Some brands you may find are NorLevo 1.5mg and ellaOne.[7]
  • 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]

  • If you visit a pharmacy, you can expect to pay around € 17,50 for LNG pills (such as NorLevo) and € 32,85 for UPA pills (such as ellaOne), as of 2013.[7]
  • The price of emergency contraceptive pills may depend on your age. In some cantons, you can purchase LNG pills, like NorLevo, for around € 12 if you are under 20 years old or for around € 20 if you are over 20 years.[8]
  • There are 26 cantons in Switzerland, and reimbursement laws around emergency contraception vary by canton. In some cantons, LNG pills are partially reimbursed if you obtain them at special family planning centers.[8]

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 Switzerland, 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.[9]

Generally speaking, Switzerland has a low HIV infection rate, and the rates have been dropping. In November 2018, it was reported that there were 20,000 living with HIV in Switzerland. There were 445 new cases of HIV infection in 2017, which was a 16% drop from the previous year. Women make up about 22% of diagnosed cases.[10] However, people with HIV report that they face stigma and judgment in Switzerland -- and, in some cases, they face harassment and discrimination.[11]

Testing Facilities[edit]

  • Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Hospital Hygiene: This clinic is a part of the University Hospital Zurich. They do anonymous HIV tests (the price is CHF 50 and cash-only, as of March 2019). They also specialize in infectious diseases and fungal diseases. Location: Rämistrasse 100, RAE U 53. Tel. +41 44 255 33 22. Email: infektiologie@usz.ch
  • The TEST-IN i: "For HIV and syphilis we offer a rapid test procedure. You get your result after about 20 minutes. The entire process, including the test result, takes about an hour, depending on the waiting time. The TEST-IN is an anonymous test and advice center of the Department of Sexual Health Zurich and is located in the city of Zurich. To the location. For anonymity reasons, we only accept cash payments." Advice in German, French and English. Prices (as of Marcy 2019): HIV test CHF 60; Syphilis Test CHF 25; HIV / syphilis test combined CHF 80; HIV test with culture legi CHF 30. Address: Zypressenstrasse 41 (1st floor), 8003 Zurich (near Albisriederplatz).
  • Meditrina - Beratungs- und Testangebot für Sans Papiers: They offer voluntary HIV tests. All consultations and basic medical care in Meditrina are free. Address: SRK Canton Zurich Meditrina, Kronenstrasse 10, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland. Phone: 044 360 28 72
  • Klinik Im Park: They do anonymous tests. Address: Bellariastrasse 38, 8038 Zürich. Phone: 044 209 20 60.

Support[edit]

  • Swiss AIDS Federation: Address: Konradstrasse 20, Postfach, CH-8031 Zurich; Phone: +41 1 447 1111; Fax: +41 1 447 1112; E-mail: aids@aids.ch

Costs[edit]

  • The cost you pay for a test will depend on the clinic that you visit, your economic situation, and your insurance situation. You can expect to pay anything from no cost to around 60 euros per test.
  • It is often cheaper to buy STI tests in a bundle (for example, buying an HIV and syphilis test in a bundle) than individual tests.

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

There is an HPV vaccine in Switzerland, and there are protocols for vaccination. You can visit the Aids-Hilfe Schweiz website for details.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can obtain the HPV vaccine in Switzerland, and you can visit the My Vaccines website to manage your online booking of the vaccine. In addition, Switzerland has a nationwide HPV vaccination program, which was launched in 2008, which targets adolescents.[12]
  • You can obtain PrEP in Switzerland at certain clinics and health care facilities, which are listed here. It is generally quite expensive to purchase PrEP in Switzerland, so people often purchase PrEP online or in other European countries.[13]

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 Switzerland.
  • You can find tampons (with and without applicators) in Switzerland.
  • You can find menstrual cups in Switzerland. For example, you can find Lunette and Mooncup sold in a variety of pharmacies, along with other brands. You can also purchase menstrual cups from online vendors, such as Afriksa, Amorana.ch, Lady Planet, Tampon.ch

Costs[edit]

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Switzerland, there are many gynecologists and women's health centers to choose from -- and you can browse resources like doktor.ch to select your provider. It is common for clinic staff to speak many languages, including German, French, and English.

Generally speaking, Swiss health insurance covers the following: a breast examination, a blood pressure check, a blood test and urine test, and a pap test (i.e. a cervical cancer screening).[6]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • University Hospital Zurich, Department of Gynecology: "In our gynecological outpatient clinic, we offer you the entire spectrum of gynecology. Our team is there for you." Registration and information: Monday - Friday from 7.30 am to 4 pm; Tel. +41 44 255 50 36; Email: frauenpoliklinik@usz.ch
  • Dr. med. Charles R. Wolf: This doctor speaks German and English. He comes highly recommended from a local who says, "Super nice and thorough and answers questions thoroughly and patiently... He's really super cool. Some doctors are not cool with foreigners. He's great!"

Costs[edit]

  • If you have a Swiss health insurance policy, and if you're between teen years and 69 years old, gynecological exams are covered by your insurance.[6]
  • Typically, the excess fees of first two checkups, plus a retention fee, are included in a yearly bill. After that, checkups are paid every three years.[6]

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

Switzerland has a low maternal mortality rate (5 deaths/100,000 live births, as of 2015)[1]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

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]

In Switzerland, abortion is fully legal and available upon request in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, abortion is legal in certain circumstances.[14]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Costs[edit]

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • FIZ Advocacy and Support for Migrant Women and Victims of Trafficking: The aim of our counseling work is to strengthen the self-determination and rights of migrant women. We support them in defending themselves against exploitation and violence, asserting their rights and interests, and finding their way out of difficult situations. Our counseling services are confidential and free of charge. We provide information on: residency rights, employment law, marriage/divorce law, victim support rights; the legal framework concerning sex work in Switzerland. We support women in: finding viable solutions in difficult situations; asserting their interests and legal rights; contacting offices, authorities, employers, landlords, social security services, and other bodies. Address: Badenerstrasse 682, 8048 Zurich. Phone: 044 436 90 00. Email: contact@fiz-info.ch

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

  • Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)
  • SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland (SANTÉ SEXUELLE Suisse): "SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland (SANTÉ SEXUELLE Suisse) is the umbrella organisation of the Swiss centers for sexual and reproductive health and the professional associations active in the areas education and counselling on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland runs a total of three offices in the French, the German and Italian speaking region of Switzerland."
  • Equaldex - Switzerland: Click here to learn about LGBTQ rights and laws in Switzerland.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 CIA World Factbook - Switzerland
  2. Religiosity Highest in World's Poorest Nations
  3. Global Oral Contraception Availability
  4. Free the Pill: Where on Earth?
  5. Trends in Contraceptive Use Worldwide 2015
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Personal Health and Family Planning: Women’s Health in Switzerland
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 EC Status and Availability - Switzerland
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 ECEC - Switzerland
  9. SWITZERLAND - REGULATIONS ON ENTRY, STAY AND RESIDENCE FOR PLHIV
  10. Statistics on HIV/AIDS
  11. Report: HIV positive people suffer discrimination in Switzerland
  12. Human Papillomavirus and Related Diseases Report - SWITZERLAND
  13. Are you on PrEP
  14. Termination of Pregnancy/Abortion in Switzerland