“The service allows individuals to test for STIs in the privacy of their own homes.”
After ordering the kit online, users can carry out the tests before posting the samples back to the laboratory.
Their results are sent back by phone or text.
If the results come back and require further testing, the service will get in touch and connect individuals with participating public STI clinics.
The service is available to those aged 17 and older.
As part of the pilot programme, 55,936 STI test kits were ordered across the country this year.
The programme is hoped to “help normalise STI testing” in Ireland, Maeve O’Brien, the Interim Programme Lead for the HSE Sexual Health Crisis Pregnancy Programme said.
The number of recorded cases of STIs increased by almost 45% in the first half of 2022 in comparison to the same time last year, data by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) shows.
Chlamydia remains the most prevalent STI in Ireland, though syphilis has also seen a spike this year.
“The development of the online STI testing programme is one of the most important innovations in our sexual health services in recent years,” Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said.
€550,000 in funding was secured as part of Budget 2023 to continue the project.
“The service allows individuals to test for STIs in the privacy of their own homes,” Frank Feighan, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy said.
Free, at-home STI testing kits can be ordered on sexualwellbeing.ie.
The kits test for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis and contain all the necessary equipment and instructions needed to take the samples.
It is most suitable for people who do not already have symptoms.