1,800 free home STI kits distributed in Cork, Kerry and Dublin last week

1,800 free home STI kits distributed in Cork, Kerry and Dublin last week

The HSE and SH:24 have partnered to offer the free home test kits as part of a project that has been rolled out in the three counties. Picture: HSE/ SH24.ie

Approximately 1,800 home STI test kits have been distributed across Cork, Kerry and Dublin in just over a week.

The HSE and SH:24 have partnered to offer the free home test kits as part of a project that has been rolled out in the three counties.

It is the second time that the HSE has run the project in Ireland. In January last year, almost 5,000 tests were ordered in the first 24 hours of the launch of the project and due to the large demand, the service was temporarily paused.

SH:24 had stated that similar sized areas in other jurisdictions where the project had been launched had seen approximately 700 orders in a month.

The demand has remained in the second phase of the testing service with approximately 1,800 kits ordered and dispatched between the resumption of the pilot on March 29 and April 5.

The project is available in Cork, Kerry and Dublin which means that anyone with an address in the counties can order a free STI test to their homes.

The aim of the pilot project is to assess the feasibility, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of an online STI service that is integrated with public STI clinics in Ireland.

Ordering a kit online, people can complete the samples, returning them by post, and have results quickly and discretely returned to them by text message or phone call.

Home STI testing is suitable for those who have no symptoms of an STI, and having the ability to order the tests online means that clinician time can be saved for supporting people with more complex needs such as those with symptoms, multiple needs, or those who are at risk of poor sexual health.

Phase two of the pilot home STI testing service commenced on Monday, March 29 with a minimum of 200 home tests available every day over the next six weeks, finishing on Sunday, May 9.

The amount of tests available per day is limited due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, to ensure sufficient capacity in local clinics to manage those who may need follow-up treatment or support.

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