Free home STI testing scheme resumes in Dublin, Cork and Kerry

The first project of its kind in Ireland provides at-home STI testing and has recommenced following overwhelming demand in January.

A hand holding a test tube

The Sláintecare home STI testing service resumes today, offering free tests for anyone with an address in Dublin, Cork or Kerry.

The scheme launched in January to huge success but was suspended after just one day due to overwhelming demand as it received thousands of orders.

The testing service has now recommenced. A minimum of 200 home tests will be available every day (seven days a week) over a six-week period, until Sunday May 9, delivered in partnership with established online STI testing provider SH:24.

Regular STI testing is important in maintaining sexual health and preventing the transmission of STIs, even if you don’t have any symptoms it’s important to get tested regularly if you are sexually active.

Over 1,000 fewer people have been diagnosed with HIV or a sexually transmitted infection (STI) this year, than at the same time in 2020 according to figures from the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

The figure for the first 11 weeks of this year, up to the week ending March 20, is 2,116 – down over a third from the same period last year when the HSE recorded 3,300 HIV or STI diagnoses. It was at this time last year that the first lockdown began and STI testing decreased.

“Ongoing restrictions on testing mean that the true rate of transmission of HIV and other STIs in 2020 is likely unknown, with the potential for a significant unchecked spike in HIV transmission,” Stephen O’Hare, Executive Director of HIV Ireland said last year.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, sexual health services have been significantly diminished. The Gay Men’s Health Service (GMHS), Ireland’s only sexual health services dedicated to gay and bisexual men and the trans community, has been closed for a full year.

In December 2020, the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Frankie Feighan, said that staff are working towards a phased reopening of the GMHS in the New Year. This has yet to occur.

ACT UP Dublin said they do not consider online and home testing services as a replacement for full sexual health services, but can help improve access to and complement face-to-face sexual health consultations.

To order a free STI test go to or to find out more information on HIV and STIs visit

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