Sexual health stigma continues as 77% of people prefer at home STI testing kits

A survey has discovered that in Ireland, the stigma surrounding sexual health is sadly continuing to linger within our society.

The study found that 77% of people prefer to use at home STI testing kits for sexual health checks, rather than attending their local GP.

The research was carried out by Webdoctor.ie, an online GP service available for those in Ireland. The company has released this data as Sexual Health Awareness Month kicks off this month around the country, in an attempt to break the stigma of discussing sexual health.

The survey also found that 60% of people are more comfortable using online GP services, and prefer to use them when seeking advice and treatment for other general health concerns.

When it comes to sexual health, the findings concluded that just 23% of people feel comfortable going for sexual health checks in traditional STI clinics, compared to 77% of people preferring to carry out checks at home.

When it comes to preferential differences, the research found that 60% of patients requesting at-home STI tests are male, and 40% of patients are female. The majority of people requesting at-home kits were those in a younger age bracket, with 70% of patients being under the age of 40.

Upon hearing these findings, the CEO of Webdoctor.ie, David Crimmins, wanted to reiterate the importance of positive discussions of sexual health, and how crucial it is for members of the public to carry out regular checks. 

“As September is Sexual Health Awareness month, we want to highlight the importance of getting regular STI checks and help remove the stigma around discussing sexual health concerns with your GP,” he noted.

The service’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Syl Mooney, reiterated the same sentiments and pleaded with everyone to keep on top of their sexual health. “It is crucial that we openly and honestly discuss sexual health not only in September but all year around,” he insisted.

“Sexual Health Awareness month is a great opportunity for us as GPs to highlight the importance of regular STI testing and continue to create a safe and comfortable environment for people to discuss sexual health concerns with their doctors," he added.

If you have any worries or concerns surrounding your sexual health, do not hesitate to reach out for help and advice.

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