About this pilot project

Service update

Wednesday January 6th 2021

The pilot service went live at 5pm on Tuesday 5th January. In the first few hours, we received unprecedented interest in the service, with thousands of orders.

In order to protect the capacity of the local clinical teams in Ireland, who provide confirmatory testing and treatment, we will be unable to accept any further orders at this time. We are hoping to accept new orders as soon as possible and will continue to keep you updated.

We plan to support all users who have already ordered a kit through the testing process first. If you have already ordered, you do not need to do anything, but please be patient. You will receive a text message once your kit has been dispatched.

To be mindful, and avoid putting further strain on the clinical services during this Covid-19 pandemic, we will be staggering the delivery of these kits over the next few weeks.

If you need urgent support, please contact your local sexual health clinic.

The HSE Sexual Health & Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP) is piloting a home STI testing project for Ireland in partnership with online STI testing provider SH:24.

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

The objectives of the pilot project are to:

  • shift those with less complex sexual health needs out of clinics to an online service thus reducing waiting times and more appropriately using available public STI clinic staff resources
  • improve service user access to STI testing and treatment in the pilot project areas
  • promote self-management of service users through online access to comprehensive sexual health information, signposting to services and remote clinical support.

The project is being piloted in the counties of Dublin, Cork and Kerry. This means that anyone with an address in these pilot counties can order a free STI test to their home.

Who can access postal STI testing as part of this pilot?

People aged 17+ in County Dublin, Cork or Kerry can access a postal STI test while the pilot is live, from January 2021 until Spring / Summer 2021. An STI test kit can be ordered on the SH:24.ie website and sent to a person's home. Instructions are provided on how to complete the test kit, with support available from SH:24’s clinical team by phone or text message. A stamped addressed envelope is provided to post the completed test kit back to the lab. People will receive their results within 72 hours of their samples arriving at the lab.

Anyone who has a positive result will be supported by SH:24’s clinical team to access one of the participating clinics in this pilot:

Dublin:

  • GUIDE Clinic, St. James’s Hospital
  • Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH)
  • St. Vincent's University Hospital (SVUH)

Cork and Kerry:

  • South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital (SIVUH)

Why is the pilot project only available in Dublin, Cork and Kerry?

The pilot project is designed to look at the feasibility and impact of online sexual health services, which will give us information on whether a national online service might be the type of service we provide in the future.

The pilot sites were selected to ensure a mix of urban and rural settings so that data could inform decisions about what a service available across Ireland may look like.

What happens after the pilot project?

Following the service delivery period, a formal evaluation of the pilot project will be undertaken. This will inform the national strategy for future service provision.

How will SH:24 handle my data?

SH:24 if fully compliant with GDPR and EU Data Protection laws, and uses industry leading security to protect our users, matching the same standards set by our HSE and NHS partner clinical services.

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number ID57.

If you have any questions about any aspect of this project, please email ireland@sh24.org.uk.