Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are very common. They can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. If you are worried about an STI, you can get information and help, and treatment if you need it.
This page has information on sexual health, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs), how to get an STI test and how to prevent STIs.
What is a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?
A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection you can get if you have sexual activity with an infected person.
The HSE website sexualwellbeing.ie has information on sexual health and common STIs in Ireland such as chlamydia, syphilis, HIV and others.
If you are worried about an STI, you should visit your GP, pharmacist or an STI clinic for medical advice.
STIs do not always have symptoms. Untreated STIs can cause serious health problems so it is important to get tested regularly.
Where can I get an STI test in Ireland?
You should get an STI test if:
- You have any symptoms of an STI
- Your sexual partner has an STI
- You have a new sexual partner
- You have more than one sexual partner
Ordering a free STI test to your home
If you are aged over 17 and living in Ireland you can order a free STI test online to take at home. If there are no more kits available to order, try again the following morning. Your STI test kit will arrive in a plain envelope that fits through letterboxes.
How to take a free home STI test
You will find instructions on how to take the STI test kit and a stamped addressed envelope to post your completed test kit back to the lab. You will get your results by phone or text message within 72 hours of the samples arriving at the lab.
Getting tested at an STI clinic
Some hospitals and clinics also offer free STI tests. Check where your closest STI test centre is located.
You can also get STI tests from many GPs, student health services or NGOs (for example HIV Ireland) but you may have to pay for your test.
You can read about what happens during an STI test and what happens if you test positive for an STI on the HSE website.
Using condoms reduces your risk of getting an STI. You can get free condoms from:
- Sexual health or GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinics
- Some sexual health NGOs
- Many third level colleges
You can buy condoms without a prescription from many supermarkets, newsagents and pharmacies in Ireland.
Vaccines to prevent STIs
Vaccines can prevent some infections that passed during sexual activity including the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis A and B.
Some public STI clinics offer free vaccinations. These are generally available to people who may be at risk of contracting an infection through sexual transmission.
You can get more information about vaccination against infections that are sexually transmitted from the HSE.
The HPV vaccine protects against the HPV virus which can cause cancer in both men and women.
You can get the free HPV vaccine if you are:
- Female in second to sixth year of secondary school
- Female aged aged under 25
- Male in second to fourth year of secondary school
- Male in fifth year and you skipped Transition Year
If you are aged under 16, you do not need to do anything. You will be offered a free vaccine in your school with the school vaccination programme or in a HSE clinic in 2023.
If you were eligible for a free HPV vaccine but you did not get it, you can book a HPV vaccine catch-up appointment online. This applies if you are:
- Female aged 16 to 25, or
- Male aged 16 or older who started first year of secondary school, homeschool or a special school in September 2019
Monkeypox spreads from person to person through very close contact. If you are a close contact of someone who has monkeypox, you will be contacted by health professionals. They will let you know if you should get a monkeypox vaccine.
You can book a monkeypox vaccine online if you:
- have not had monkeypox
- have not had a monkeypox vaccine or you have only received your first dose
- are in one of these at-risk groups listed on the HSE website
Further information on sexual health
For more information on STIs such as chlamydia, syphilis, HIV and others, visit sexualwellbeing.ie. You can also find information on genital conditions. The HSE has published a guide to STIs in different languages (pdf).
Read more about:
The website b4udecide.ie is a resource for young people and parents, with information on sex education.There are other resources for parents, teachers and youth workers on the Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme website, sexualwellbeing.ie.
Man2Man.ie is a website of sexual health information for gay and bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men in Ireland.
The HSE has published a list of HSE run STI clinics and organisations.