Online, there is very little information about sexual health for disabled people and, as a result, it’s difficult to know what clinics are actually accessible. I have rarely seen the issues of sexual health and disability together which makes me a bit worried that there’s a huge lack of discourse, education and outright acknowledgement that disabled people are sexually active people too.
In my own research for a suitable place to visit for STI testing or family planning, it was apparent that not many places in the city centre can accommodate disabled people, specifically those in wheelchairs. At a later stage, I will have to do a post specifically on women’s health services and what they have on offer for disabled women because, man, it’s tough being a disabled broad in need of accessible healthcare.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I decided to ring around some of the more prominent free and private STI and HIV testing clinics Dublin and find out what is available for people with limited mobility.
I feel like there’s a stigma created in the media (thanks media!) about sex and disability so it’s something I want to research more. In the coming months, I’ll be doing a lecture and working on a play around this topic. But for now… get tested and using the unused title of Tom McCaughren‘s erotic fox novel, I encourage you to Ride Free, Ride Safe.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Beaumont, Dublin 9
Beaumont Hospital has a free walk-in HIV testing clinic that is open on Thursdays from 10a.m. – 12p.m.
Access: All of Beaumont Hospital is wheelchair accessible.
Gay Men’s Health Service Clinic
Baggot Street Hospital, 18 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4
The Gay Men’s Health Service offers free walk-in appointments for gay and bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 4.30p.m. – 6.30p.m.
Access: There is wheelchair access available from Haddington Road and they suggest that you text them (087 9410934) to arrange this service. They also offer Foreign Language Interpretation Services and ISL Interpreters and you must text them at least one day in advance to book an interpreter.
Great Georges Street, Dublin 2
The George offers free HIV testing through The Know Now Project on Tuesday evenings between 8p.m. and 10p.m. This is run on a first come, first serve basis so it is best to arrive early. The Know Now Project is run by GLEN in Dublin, and it is Ireland’s first national free rapid HIV testing programme. It is available in a number of venues across Ireland, including three here in Dublin that I have included on this list.
Access: The testing takes place in the main venue in The George which is all flat and wheelchair accessible. They also have a wheelchair accessible bathroom and there is wheelchair parking available close by on Dame Court.
Floor 4, The Meath Primary Care Centre, Heytesbury Street, Dublin 8
Himerus Health is a new private sexual health and STI testing clinic in Dublin City and they offer STI tests, sexual health consultations and private Genito-Urinary Medicine care.
Access: There is a lift up to the clinic on the fourth floor and while some of the examination tables are at a fixed height, there are ones that can be lowered. There is wheelchair parking available in the clinic’s car park.
70 Eccles Street, Dublin 7
HIV Ireland provides free HIV and STI testing. It’s a walk-in service and no appointment is necessary.
Access: 70 Eccles Street is an old Georgian building with 10 steps up to the front door and they have no lift inside. They recommend either St. James’ Hospital or Beaumount after them if you are a wheelchair user.
Mater Misercordiae Hospital
Infectious Diseases Unit, Eccles Street, Dublin 7
The Mater offers free STI and HIV testing by appointment only.
Access: The Infectious Diseases Unit is in the Mater public and it is fully wheelchair accessible. The car park is a little bit complicated to use – just a heads up – but there is a lift that brings you into this part of the hospital.
Outhouse LGBT Community Centre, 105 Capel Street, Dublin 1
The Outhouse offers free HIV testing every Wednesday evening from 7p.m.
Access: The clinic is on the second floor of a Georgian building with no lift. However, they are very helpful and can provide you with as much information as they can over the phone. They were the ones to let me know about The Know Now Project and they recommend other venues using that programme or Gay Men’s Health Service Clinic if their building is not suitable for you.
7 – 8 Capel Street, Dublin 1
On Saturdays and Sundays, The Know Now Project runs their free rapid HIV testing programme in Pantibar. Testing takes place on a first come, first serve basis between 4.30p.m. and 6.30p.m. It can get very busy so it’s best to arrive early to secure an appointment.
Access: The HIV testing takes place in the basement of Pantibar for privacy but if a wheelchair user wants to use this service, it can be arranged to have it done on the ground level of Pantibar, which is all flat. It is entirely up to the person seeking the service if they are comfortable getting tested on the ground level or not. There is wheelchair parking available beside it on Great Strand Street.
St. James’s Hospital, GUIDE Clinic
St. James’s Hospital, James’s Street, Dublin 8
The GUIDE Clinic is Ireland’s largest free STI, HIV and infectious disease service. They have walk-in appointments available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday and tickets for this service will be allocated from 8a.m.
Access: St. James’ Hospital is entirely wheelchair accessible and that includes The GUIDE Clinic.
Well Woman Centre
The Well Woman Centre has three clinics in Dublin and they offer appointments for STI testing, smear testing, family planning, crisis pregnancies, menopause consultation, counselling and many other essential services for women. You will have to pre-book appointments and they have price lists available on their website for every service.
67 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4: It has three steps down to the front door and they can assist however they can here. It is all on the one level inside, apart from one of the doctor’s rooms that has one step down. Rooms can be rearranged if needs be.
35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1: There is a flight of stairs inside the front door and there is no lift.
Northside Shopping Centre, Oscar Traynor Road, Kilmore, Dublin 17: There is a lift up from the shopping centre and it is all flat inside. It is worth noting that their tables are fixed in a high position and cannot be lowered so for smear testing and STI testing, this may be an issue.