Ireland seeing increased STI notifications since Covid-19 pandemic

HSE home testing service has improved access to testing no matter where people live

Cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), most notably, chlamydia and gonorrhoea, increased in 2022 compared to 2019, according to HPSC’s latest surveillance data published today (Thursday, 20th April 2023). This shows that gonorrhoea rates have increased by 45% and chlamydia by 20%, whereas Early Infectious Syphilis (EIS) rates have remained relatively stable.

There are a number of factors contributing to this, including the return to normal after Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were lifted. Another significant factor has been improvements in access to testing. The free HSE STI home testing service, is available for all 17 years of age and older living anywhere in Ireland who can order a test online at

Professor Fiona Lyons, Medical Director/Clinical Lead in Sexual Health, HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP), said: “The HSE home testing service has really improved access to testing no matter where people live. It is convenient to use and is proving very popular with the public. This has led to an increase in detection of STIs, and we estimate now that more than one third of all chlamydia cases and nearly a quarter of gonorrhoea cases were detected via this testing service in 2022.  

“STIs are common, particularly chlamydia, herpes and gonorrhoea, and increases have been seen throughout the country. However, some communities and key populations are especially affected. STIs continue to disproportionately affect gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM), and young people less than 25 years of age.”

Dr Derval Igoe, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), added: “Consistent condom use, particularly when changing partners, is key for prevention. So too is availing of testing following unprotected sex, which helps in early detection and treatment and prevents passing on infection to others.” 

Further information is available at For gbMSM, additional resources are available at

Last updated on: 20 / 04 / 2023