huge uptake | 

100,000 STI testing kits ordered to homes across Ireland last year

The huge uptake in the home-testing programme follows a record rise in recorded cases of STIs in Ireland

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Almost 100,000 kits that test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) were sent to homes across the country by the HSE last year.

The huge uptake in the home-testing programme follows a record rise in recorded cases of STIs in Ireland.

The kits helped diagnose cases of chlamydia and gonorrhoea and spot the warning signs of potential cases of syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B or C.

When the test is received in the post, the person who ordered it follows the instructions with the equipment found inside the parcel before sending the samples back for lab testing.

So far, 59 pc of the tests ordered have been returned for laboratory processing, according to data released to The Irish Times.

In total, 96,996 kits were sent to homes across the country last year.

Some 4,112 cases of chlamydia were diagnosed through these tests and 931 cases of gonorrhoea.

Testers receive their results via text message, where they may be invited to take further action with a local STI clinic if they receive a positive result or are told there was a “reactive blood result.”

860 people were notified of this reactive result last year, a sign the individual needs a blood test to confirm if it might be linked to syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B or C.

The service is available to those aged 17 and older.

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 at the launch last October.

The number of recorded cases of STIs increased by almost 45% in the first half of 2022 compared 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 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.

Free, at-home STI testing kits can be ordered on sexualwellbeing.ie.


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