HSE launches nationwide free home STI testing service 

HSE launches nationwide free home STI testing service 

Pictured is Prof Fiona Lyons, Clinical Lead for Sexual Health, at the launch of the HSE free national home STI testing service. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

The HSE has announced the launch of a free home testing service for sexually transmitted infections (STI) across the country. 

The home test kits will be available to order online for people aged 17 and over. 

Users complete the tests at home and post the samples to the laboratory in the pre-paid envelope provided, and they will then receive their results via text or phone. 

Those who require further testing will then be referred to STI clinics. 

The HSE says the new service is most suitable for people who don't have symptoms of an STI. Those who do have symptoms should attend an STI clinic or their GP for an assessment. 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly welcomed this new development. He cited the home testing initiative as one of the most important innovations in sexual health services for years. 

"This service has already been the subject of a very successful pilot project, initially funded by the Sláintecare Integration Fund and developed by the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (HSCPP), which in its first five months, saw over 13,000 home testing kits being delivered," he said. 

Since the conclusion of the pilot programme work has been ongoing to make the service nationwide, and another €550,000 of funding was announced in the recent Budget. 

Clinical Lead for Sexual Health Professor Fiona Lyons said that she is delighted a free service is now available across the country. 

"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," she added. 

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

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