In this article, we’ll cover the basics of STI’s, where you can go for a free test, where you can go to pay for a test and how you can get a home STI test in Ireland!
What is a Sexually Transmitted Infection?
An STI is an infection that is usually passed from one person to another during oral, anal or vaginal sex. In recent years in Ireland, reported cases of STI’s have been on the rise. If you are sexually active, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are not infected so that you are not putting the people you have sex with at risk.
The most common STI’s in Ireland are:
- Hepatitis B
- HPV (in women)
Should I be worried if I contract an STI?
Most cases of infection are very easily treated with medication and are not something to worry about unless left untreated.
Infections that are not treated can potentially lead to serious damage to your health. Some long-term complications can include erectile dysfunction, infertility, anal or cervical cancer, urinary tract, bladder or kidney infections, and heart problems. Syphilis, HIV, and Hepatitis B potentially fatal without treatment.
STI’s, more often than not, show no symptoms. The only way to know if you have an infection is to get tested, which is why we always encourage shame-free and consistent testing.
So, when should I be getting tested?
- You are sexually active and have never had an STI test, regardless of whether or not protection was used
- You have had unprotected sex with someone new
- If you have symptoms of an STI (listed below)
- You have recently changed sexual partner and have had more than one sexual partner
- If you are planning to get pregnant
80% of cases will have no symptoms but if you experience any of the following be sure to get tested:
- Unusual discharge from the penis, anus, or vagina
- Pain when passing urine
- Unusual sores, ulcers or blisters in the genital area
- Itching or irritation in the genital area
- Discomfort or pain in the anus/rectum
- You experience pain during sex
- Bleeding between periods or after sex
- Swollen testicles
- An unusual rash
Where do you go if you want to get tested?
Free Clinics & Screening Centres
There is a range of free walk-in clinics across the country. Each clinic is usually only open on certain days for walk-in appointments only and run on a first-come, first-serve basis. With the current Covid 19 restrictions, many of these clinics have been operating on new schedules. You can find a complete list of up to date information on where to go for your free test here.
Visit your GP or a Private STI testing Clinic
Most GP’s will offer STI test and some will even offer them included within a check-up. Additionally, you can visit Family Planning Clinics, Well Woman and Well Man Centres or obtain a test through your Private Health Care provider.
At home STI test kits in Ireland
Home testing kits are a great option, especially now that it may be difficult to visit a test centre! Firstly, they’re extremely discreet and easy to use. Secondly, they’re quite efficient as most will have your results available within 3 working days. Finally, while you do have to pay for them, many of the basic tests are very affordable.
Let’s have a look at some of our favourite options below:
Starting with the Simple 2 (€49, Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea) and going up to the Complete 11 (€239), Let’s Get Checked offers some of the most comprehensive testing options out there! You can get one-off tests or sign up to a quarterly subscription if you really want to take control of your sexual health. Each test comes with easy to understand, step by step instructions on how to take your sample at home. You then pop your sealed sample back in the prepaid envelope provided that same day and you’ll have your results on your confidential account within 2-5 working days! If your test is negative, nothing to worry about. If it’s positive, one of their trained nurses will contact and provide treatment options. It couldn’t be easier. Trust us, we’ve tried and tested this one!
MyClinic.ie works in a very similar way to Let’s Get Checked. They offer tests for all of the most common STI’s but their complete testing options are not quite as comprehensive as above. To clarify, that’s not to say they don’t offer enough. Their kits range from Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea (€50) to Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV, Hepatitis B, Syphilis (€90). Samples are taken and sent back to the labs just as above and results are received within 7 days. This is an Irish company – and we’re all for supporting Irish these days. Why not give this one a go?
Similarly to the previously mentioned home testing options, HomeTesting.ie offers a variety of kits. Their most simple option being Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea (€49) to the Platinum STI test (€295, covers 11 tests). While it works in a very similar manner, HomeTesting.ie has the added benefit that if you have issues taking your samples, you can be seen by one of their doctors in Dublin City Centre where they will assist you with your test. Likewise, you will also be supporting a smaller Irish company if you choose HomeTesting.ie.
In short, STI testing can be discreet, affordable and simple to do. It’s super simple to get a home STI test in Ireland, so what’s your excuse?