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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 30 March, 2020

7% increase in STIs in Ireland between 2017 and 2018, new data suggests

The prominent STIs were chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes and syphilis.

Image: Shutterstock/Elena Verba

THERE HAS BEEN a 7% increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Ireland in 2018 compared to 2017, according to provisional data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

The prominent STIs were chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes and syphilis. 

In recent years, the greatest burden of STIs is among young people aged between 15-24 and men who have sex with men (MSM), according to the HSE. 

Following the publication of the HPSC report today, the HSE sexual health and crisis pregnancy programme is advising people of the importance of using condoms to protect against STIs. 

In response to the rise in STI and HIV diagnoses, the HSE national condom distribution service has been supporting sexual health campaigns. 

The service distributes free condoms and lubricants to third level colleges, festival and nightlife venues, NGOs and community organisations. 

Condoms are also distributed to MSM specific social venues such as saunas, bars, clubs and pubs.

“Many STIs do not have any symptoms. If you think you have an STI or you may have been at risk, it is important to get tested and if necessary, be treated,” Helen Deely, programme lead of the sexual health and crisis pregnancy programme, said. 

“Treating STIs promptly reduces the likelihood of them being passed onto someone else. This is particularly important for HIV. Starting HIV treatment as early as possible keeps you healthy and stops HIV transmission to others,” she said.

Using condoms correctly and every time you have sex will reduce your risk of contracting an STI. Plan ahead and carry condoms with you if you are sexually active.

“If you have a new partner, it is a good idea for both persons to have a sexual health check-up before having sex without a condom.”

STI and HIV testing is available for free through public STI clinics

Testing is also available through many GPs, student health services and NGOs at a fee. 

Sexual health support can be found here: 

  • HSE’s HIV and Sexual Health free and confidential helpline is on 1800 459 459 or email
  • Men who have sex with men can find information and support at
  • LGBT Ireland’s free and confidential helpline is on 1890 929 539 or visit

More information and advice on preventing STIs can be found here

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