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10,000 home STI testing kits being ordered each month

New figures show that 10,000 free home sexually transmitted infection (STI) kits are being ordered each month from the HSE.

The service provides people aged 17 and older with the option to test for STIs discreetly at home.

People with a reactive result, indicating a need for further investigation or treatment, are referred to participating public STI clinics.

The demand for the service is growing with 100,000 kits ordered up to November last year and over 91,000 kits ordered in 2022.

Since November last, people who test positive for chlamydia have the option of an online prescription, cutting the number of referrals to clinics for treatment.

Up to late September last year, 20% of gonorrhoea and 36% of chlamydia notifications to public health came from the home testing service.

The Department of Health said that the availability of a national home STI testing service has increased access to testing, removing potential barriers such as embarrassment, cost and time needed to attend a face-to-face service.

Most users are in the 20-34 age categories.

Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton said the service was providing increased opportunities for diagnosis and treatment which was particularly important in the context of rising STI rates, nationally and internationally.

Last year the service cost €3.5 million and this year funding has increased to €4.2m to meet demand.

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