Words: Eva O’Beirne
Piloted last year for some counties, the scheme has been expanded to the whole country.
The HSE has announced today that there is now a free national home testing service for sexually transmitted infections for those aged 17 and over.
People aged 17 and older can order a free STI test kit online, which is then delivered to their home by post. Once you complete the test, you then post the samples back to the laboratory in a pre-paid envelope also included in the kit.
People will later receive their results by text or phone, with those in need of further testing or treatment referred to participating public STI clinics.
The service has been launched by the HSE’s Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme and is being operated by Sexual Health 24. You can order a test through sexualwellbeing.ie.
During the initial five-month pilot scheme, over 13,700 kits were ordered – 5,000 of which were in the first 24 hours of the service going live. Over half of users said they never used a sexual health service before.
The news comes as the National Women’s Council has called on the Department of Health to expand the free contraception scheme to include those under 16.
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