60% of Irish people have never had a sexual health check-up, according to research commissioned by Irish start-up LetsGetChecked. The research also reveals that 57% of Irish people are unaware that 80% of STIs are symptomless. This figure rises to 68% for men, while Irish women are slightly more in the know, with 54% confirming they are aware.
With only a third of people admitting to having a frank conversation about their sexual health with new partners, it appears that a stigma remains in Ireland around discussing sexual health and getting tested. This could be seen as a contributing factor to the increase in STIs in Ireland, recently reported by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre. According to the figures, 9,764 people in Ireland were diagnosed with an STI last year, with Chlamydia remaining the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease with 6,707 cases reported in 2014, representing 68% of all reported STIs in Ireland.
The LetsGetChecked STI screening service is confidential and customers can also attend participating pharmacies to get checked within a dedicated consultation suite if they prefer. LetsGetChecked handles the entire testing process and delivers results back to the customer within two days.
A nursing support team also provides confidential advice on the recommended course of treatment for those who test positive.
Home testing kits start from €50 (tests for Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea), €120 (tests for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C), and €220 (Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Trichomoniaisis, Gardnerella, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Herpes Simplex 1, Herpes Simplex 2, HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C).
Commenting on the research, Peter Foley, CEO of LetsGetChecked said: ‘The most worrying outcome from this research is that while 90% of Irish people say they have never had an STI, only 30% have actually had a sexual health check-up. With a large proportion of STIs displaying little to no symptoms, people cannot afford to be presumptive when it comes to their sexual health. By providing access to fast, accurate and anonymous healthcare testing, LetsGetChecked is opening up opportunities for Irish people to become more proactive about their sexual heath.’