HSE launches free home STI testing kit service
Prof Fiona Lyons, Clinical Lead for Sexual Health, at the launch of the HSE free national home STI testing service

HSE launches free home STI testing kit service

THE HSE has launched a free home STI testing service for people over the age of 17.

The new service has been launched nationally, after a successful pilot project saw more than 13,000 home testing kits being delivered in its first five months.

Since the conclusion of the pilot project, work has been ongoing to expand the service nationally, with €550,000 secured in the recent Budget for a countrywide service.

The new service, launched on Tuesday by the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme, provides people over the age of 17 with the option of testing for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) at home.

People over the age of 17 can order a free STI test kit on the online platform, which is delivered to their home by post.

Users complete the tests at home and post the samples to the laboratory in the pre-paid envelope provided.

Individuals receive results by text or phone, and those who require further testing or treatment are referred to participating public STI clinics.

According to the HSE, the new service is generally most suitable for individuals who do not have symptoms, with anyone who has symptoms advised to attend an STI clinic or their GP.

Professor Fiona Lyons, Clinical Lead for Sexual Health, said: “I am delighted that a free online STI testing service is now available across Ireland.

“It is an important step towards increasing STI testing access and capacity.

“It offers greater choice to individuals, promotes self-care and overcomes many barriers to STI testing.

“Integrating the service with public STI clinics ensures that where necessary individuals have a seamless pathway to additional care.”

Maeve O Brien, Interim Programme Lead for HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme, believes that the service can help to improve sexual health and wellbeing.

Ms O Brien added that campaign and promotional activity will also “help to raise awareness of the importance of accessing free STI testing for those who need it; and will help to normalise STI testing as being an important step in self-managing our overall health and wellbeing.”

The HSE is supporting the launch with a digital, social and outdoor campaign to promote the availability of the new service.

Learn more about the service, and how to access a free STI test, at sexualwelbeing.ie. 

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