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.
Free home STI testing is back from this morning.
200 kits available to people in Dublin, Cork and Kerry every day for the next 6 weeks from https://t.co/CeoUzSIICi
— Adam Shanley (@Adlers1) March 29, 2021
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.
🍑 Sexual Health Sunday 🍑
Managed to get my hands on one of the HSE's pilot scheme at home STI kits. Here's me doing mine ✨
Sexual Health Services are limited right now but there are places you can access testing.
— Dean (He/Him) ✨ (@Deaneoreilly) March 21, 2021
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.
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