“Migration and vulnerability factors” framework

Being in a precarious situation, working in the sex trade and belonging to a community from a country with a high prevalence of HIV are examples of vulnerabilities which, when accumulated, undermine people’s capacity for autonomy and self-determination in regard to preventing HIV/STIs. 

National framework for planning HIV/STI prevention efforts:

The situation of Switzerland’s migrant population varies greatly. While the majority of migrants are not particularly vulnerable, a number of vulnerability factors are displayed by some, which, when accumulated, undermine their capacity for autonomy (empowerment) and increase the risk of exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Faced with this situation, the FOPH has worked with the Swiss AIDS Association, Swiss Sexual Health, the Swiss Red Cross, Agnodice and Aspasie to develop a national framework (MV Framework) designed to coordinate efforts to prevent HIV/STIs amongst this particularly vulnerable population.

The MV Framework identifies people with migrant status who come under Axis 1 of the National Programme for HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections, and those who present vulnerabilities that come under Axis 2. Migrants belonging to Axis 1 are targeted with the LOVE LIFE campaign. Vulnerable migrants are targeted with specific HIV/STI prevention efforts, based around NPHS objectives and the MV Framework objectives.

Vulnerability factors

The MV Framework distinguishes between two categories of vulnerability factor:

  • Primary vulnerability factors
  • Reinforced vulnerability factors

Primary vulnerability factors include factors relating to direct exposure to HIV/STIs such as sex work, coming from a country with a high prevalence of HIV, men who have sex with men, transgender people, etc. Reinforced vulnerability factors consist of psychosocial factors that accentuate a primary vulnerability and/or undermine the capacity for autonomy and self-determination of migrants, such as a lack of health insurance, social and economic insecurity, social and emotional isolation, linguistic difficulties, etc.

A framework with three fields of action

The MV Framework is based on three fields of action and sets objectives. These fields are:

  • Human rights, participation, access to healthcare, empowerment of those concerned.
  • Access to information, to means of prevention, contraception and vaccination.
  • Screening, diagnosis, treatment and voluntary disclosure to partners.

Tools currently available

Today, the FOPH has up-to-date tools for working with its partners to define an HIV/STI prevention strategy for particularly vulnerable migrants. These tools are:

  • the MV Framework
  • The ANSWER survey analysis report
  • The SWAN survey analysis report
  • The evaluation of the APiS project
  • The evaluation of the Afrimedia project

Further information

Counselling and testing centres for HIV and other STI's

Do the risk assessment and find the right counselling and testing centre for you.

Communicable Diseases Legislation – Epidemics Act, (EpidA)

The Epidemics Act aims to ensure that communicable diseases are detected, monitored, prevented and controlled at an early stage and helps to better manage disease outbreaks with a high risk potential.

Last modification 09.02.2021

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Division of Communicable Diseases
Prevention and Promotion Section
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Bern
Tel. +41 58 463 87 06

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