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The MISTER Center
1117 W. Peachtree Street Atlanta, GA 30309
678-365-4300

 

 

 

MISTER Center Services

The Center is open to all gay and bisexual men without regard to race, ethnicity, HIV status, relationship status, group membership, religious or political beliefs, gender identity, fetish, or community special interests, and some services (such as HIV testing) are available to women and straight men as well.

HIV Testing
STI Screening
CLEAR Coaching and Counseling
Health and Wellness Counseling
Social Networking

HIV Testing

The MISTER Center provides no-cost confidential HIV counseling & testing services, including linkage to primary medical HIV care for persons who test HIV positive at the Center as well as linkage for people who are already HIV positive and need helping getting into medical care. Our testing counselors are able to emotionally support both negative and positive clients, and help in identifying high risk behaviors and developing a risk reduction plan to reduce the chances of getting infected for negative individuals or re-infected for positive individuals.

The testing staff understands that many individuals have other responsibilities including jobs and school, and in a lot of circumstances are unable to obtain an HIV test during normal business hours because of these obligations. For this reason, the MISTER Center has extended hours for HIV testing to include Monday through Thursday from 10 AM to 6 PM, Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM. Please note that the last test must be started 30 minutes prior to closing. With these extended hours, we are able to provide a time that is convenient for most people. The entire testing process from the time you check in until you receive your rapid test result can vary widely, anywhere from 15 minutes up to 45 minutes depending on the testing technology used, your HIV test result and the number of other services (such as STI screening) you might obtain while in the office.

MISTER is proud to be able to offer confidential HIV testing at no cost to you, and follows HIPAA requirements regarding the protection of your medical information. With confidential testing, personal information as well as demographic information is required (you legal name, mailing address, telephone number and so on).

You also will receive a handy pocket card with your results, and the card will contain your name, date of birth, the date you were tested, as well as your result, if you decide to provide a photo ID (if you choose not to provide a photo ID, you can still receive an HIV test, but you will not receive anything in writing with your test result).

All information you provide is kept strictly confidential. All clients are assigned a unique client ID, and that discreet ID is used on charting as well as used for repeat visits. All written records are kept in a locked file cabinet in a locked room at all times and all electronic records are password-protected. Demographic information is used for funding and tracking purposes, but your name, address and other personal information is not reported to the CDC or any other funder. The MISTER Center has a very strict confidentiality policy to which all staff are required to adhere and all staff and volunteers have signed confidentiality agreements on file.

Everyone obtaining an HIV test will receive their rapid HIV test results during the same visit. There is no need to return days later for your preliminary results.

So what can you expect if you decide to take the smart step to obtain an HIV test at the MISTER Center? First, we are conveniently located at 1117 West Peachtree Street NW in Midtown, just a few blocks north of the Midtown MARTA station and a few blocks south of the Arts Center MARTA station, on West Peachtree between 12th and 13th Streets. There is ample free parking that is easily accessible from West Peachtree, which is a one-way street heading north from downtown. Our building is a 2-story white brick building with a blue awning on the right side of the street, and our parking lot is just past our building on your right.

When you enter the building, you will be asked to sign in and then have a seat to wait for a counselor. A counselor will then meet with you and ask you some questions to identify any risks you might have related to HIV, and will discuss any ways you might wish to decrease those risks—after all, if you are presenting for an HIV test you must care about your health and potential risk. After this brief pre-counseling session, you will be administered the rapid HIV test which, in most cases, will involve a virtually painless fingerstick to collect a small droplet of blood to run your HIV test. Depending on the testing technology used at your visit, your result will be ready between 5 to 20 minutes. If you are receiving other services (such as STI screenings), your HIV test will be started and then STI samples collected so that by the time you are finished with the STI sample collections your HIV test will likely be ready. In any case, once the test has finished processing, the counselor will provide you with your test result the same day you have the test.

If your test result is non-reactive (negative), you will be given an opportunity to ask any questions before you leave, and will be given a safer sex kit to take home with you should you desire one, and you will be given a card with your results (provided you have agreed to show an ID to verify your identify). You also will have the option to sign up for our auto reminder service, which automatically sends you a generic text or email reminding you that it's time for your next test, and may be offered other services that might be of help to you.

If your test result is reactive (preliminary positive), we will need to obtain additional blood work to run a test to confirm your preliminary result. While false positives are extremely rare today, it still can happen and so this is only a PRELIMINARY positive, and does not mean you definitely have HIV, though the likelihood is that you do. The second test is critically important in confirming whether you actually have HIV. The blood sample is sent off to the laboratory for a confirmatory (HIV Ag/Ab monospot) test. This typically takes 3 to 5 business days. Once this test result returns, you will be scheduled for an appointment to return to obtain these results. We never provide any HIV testing results over the phone regardless of whether they are negative or positive.

Again, false positives are rare, but the only way to ensure you truly know your HIV status if you test preliminary positive is to undergo confirmatory testing.

Please note that if you have participated in an HIV vaccine trial, unless you have received clearance from the trial, you should NOT receive a rapid HIV test. Often participants in these trials will trigger a positive result even when HIV is not present due to the vaccines being studied. If you have ever been involved in a vaccine trial (such as the Emory Hope Clinic studies), please inform your test counselor prior to test administration.

The Center counselors can also make internal referrals to other MISTER programs such as STI screening for syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia, CLEAR coaching and counseling and support groups, as well as to Positive Impact’s Mental Health, Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Programs for those individuals who require and would like such referrals.

Please note that you do not need an ID to undergo a rapid HIV test. However, as noted above, if you would like a results card you must show your photo ID. This is because your name and date of birth are placed on the card, and we must verify that your name and date of birth on your ID matches what we are putting on your results card to ensure we are providing the correct results to the right person.

As well, should you test preliminary positive (reactive) and need to undergo confirmatory testing, a valid photo ID including your legal name and date of birth are required to process your sample. This is required so that when the laboratory report returns, the name and date of birth on the final result will match your legal ID so that you can use that result to get into treatment. Otherwise, if the name and/or date of birth do not match the lab slip, you would have to be retested for HIV and go through the entire process again, wasting your time and precious valuable testing resources. Therefore, you will be asked to show your ID when you arrive to receive an HIV test, but it will not be examined or copied unless your result is reactive or unless you decide that you would like your test result in writing.

Empower yourself with the knowledge of knowing your HIV status. Bring yourself, bring a family member, and bring a friend to be tested. Let’s do this together and help in the reduction of the spread of HIV in our communities. Free rapid HIV testing is available to both men and women over the age of 16.

For more information or questions about HIV testing, please contact the MISTER Center's HIV Testing Program Manager, Robert Cheek, at 678-365-4300 or email Robert.

For management questions and concerns, please contact the MISTER Center Prevention Director, Danny Sprouse, at 678-365-4300 or email Danny.

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STI Screening

Screenings for syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia are offered at the MISTER Center Monday through Thursday from 10 AM to 6 PM, Fridays from 10 AM to 5 PM, and Saturdays from 10 AM to 2 PM. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia screenings are conducted via urine sample, throat swab and/or rectal swab depending on your potential exposure risk. A blood sample is required for syphilis screening.

Please note that a valid photo ID is required to undergo STI screening. This is required to ensure that the name on the result from the laboratory matches your legal ID in case you test positive for an STI, you will need to provide a copy of the lab result and your ID to receive treatment, whether at the MISTER Center, the health department or even at your own physician's office.

The Center now offers all screenings to anyone who wants them for a small administrative fee. The current screenings available include syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia. The following is a price list as of February 1, 2015 for all STI services. These prices are subject to change so feel free to call ahead if you wish to verify prices before you arrive. If you can document that you are already HIV positive, or if you are negative and receive an HIV test the same day as your STI screening, you will get a discount off the total cost of your STI screening.

Syphilis only ($45); gonorrhea and Chlamydia only ($80); and a complete panel for syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia ($120).

Why do we collect urine, throat swab and rectal swab samples to screen for gonorrhea and Chlamydia? Different screens detect infections in different parts of your body. For example, if you have oral gonorrhea, a urine screen may not detect that you are positive for gonorrhea, but a throat swab would.

All males undergoing screening for gonorrhea and Chlamydia will be offered all three sample collections. You are free to opt out of any of the three different sample collections, but the cost is the same whether you have just one or all three samples collected, and we strongly encourage all males to undergo all three.

However, most importantly for men, since your last STI screening (or if you have never been screened before), it is highly recommended that, at a minimum, you:

Women are able to receive oral throat swab and urine screens only. Because we do not have a female provider in our STI clinic, we are unable to offer women rectal swab screens at this time.

The Center also offers treatment for syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia with the following prices: syphilis - primary or secondary ($100); syphilis - latent ($300); gonorrhea ($85); and Chlamydia ($80).

Please note that the costs above include all administrative costs of screening and treatment including nursing, facilities and injections. The prices also include a free rescreening for the same STI for which you were treated 90 days after treatment to ensure that treatment was effective and that you have not been re-infected with the same STI.

Additionally, if you have what you believe to be ACTIVE symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection, please go to your doctor or to the public health department IMMEDIATELY for testing and treatment. Doctor’s offices and the health departments can test you and treat you the same day; at MISTER, we send the samples to a laboratory for processing and you will not get your results back for up to 7 to 10 days, and you should not go that long with active symptoms! If you are not sure if your symptoms are an STI/STD, one of our prevention specialists can help answer your questions. Please just give us a call.

The agency only treats positive cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia on clinic days, which are typically Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, but those days can change unexpectedly based on the availability of the nurse. While screening for STIs is available on a walk-in basis, an appointment is REQUIRED to receive treatment. We are unable to treat clients on a walk-in basis.

SPECIAL NOTE: The Prevention Specialist will inform you during your visit that should one of your STI screens return positive, that information is required by law to be reported to the health department in the county in which you live. A representative of the health department in your county will then contact you to ensure that you were able to receive medical treatment for your condition. This is a public health effort to stop the continued spread of STIs. If you have not obtained medical treatment or refused medical treatment at the Center, the health department will assist you in getting medical treatment. As well, the health department may offer to anonymously notify, discreetly on your behalf, any sex partners you have had to let them know they might have been exposed to an STI (but will not reveal anything about you or how they might have been exposed), in an effort to encourage them to get tested for the same STI. You also may wish to notify sex partners on your own and refer them to the MISTER Center for screening and possible treatment.

REMEMBER! If you get treated for an STI but don’t have all your sex partners treated, and you then again engage in sex with those same partners or with someone those partners have had sex with, you run the risk of getting re-infected with the same STI! Who wants that?

For more information or questions about STI screening, please contact the MISTER Center's STI Program Manager, Kevin Loop, at the MISTER Center at 678-365-4300 or email Kevin.

For management questions and concerns, please contact the MISTER Center Prevention Director, Danny Sprouse, at 678-365-4300 or email Danny.

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CLEAR Coaching and Counseling

MISTER is dedicated to helping the Atlanta gay and bisexual community arm themselves against the threat of HIV and STI transmission. We care about the safety and quality of your health, and we want to provide you with the tools necessary for you to be part of the community that cares for itself.

Our CLEAR coaching and sexual health counseling services are individual-based, one-on-one sessions that help men identify areas in their life where they may be putting themselves at risk for infection, gain a better understanding of health issues specific to men in general as well as health issues impacting those men who are already HIV positive, and to increase men's sexual health and sexual fun by increasing self-esteem and feeling better about who you are not just as a gay man but as a man. In addition, the sessions provide skills-building necessary to live life to the fullest such as the promotion of healthy living, increased skills around goal-setting and problem-solving, and increased assertive communication skills. The coaching services are tailored specifically to your needs, so the service will offer you exactly what you need.

Are you struggling with dating? Do you seem to have one failed relationship after another? Do you struggle with intimacy? Is your career going where you had hoped? Do you find yourself looking but never finding quality friendships? Have you struggled with low self-esteem or feelings of self-loathing around your sexual orientation (internalized homophobia)? These and many other topics can be covered during your CLEAR sessions.

All sessions are free of charge.

For more information or questions about CLEAR coaching and counseling, please contact the MISTER Center's CLEAR Counselor, Amber Reid, at 678-365-4300 or email Amber.

For management questions and concerns, please contact the MISTER Center Prevention Director, Danny Sprouse, at 678-365-4300 or email Danny.

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Health and Wellness Counseling

Health & Wellness counseling services are available at no cost to the client, and are open to both HIV-positive as well as HIV-negative indivduals who need such services. Enrollment is optional, and while most clients have access to the services during a 12-month period of enrollment, a client is free to disenroll from the service at any time. The service is designed specifically to address, apply & promote the following concepts during service implementation:

The primary goal of health and wellness services to improve health outcomes and the quality of life for HIV-infected individuals such that the individual becomes and remains virally suppressed (undetectable) with a minimum of negative health impacts related to HIV. An additional goal is to ensure that individuals who are presenting HIV negative but at risk for possible infection receive education and information related to prevention, as well as linkages to and support starting and maintain PrEP (Truvada) as another tool negative persons can utilize to avoid HIV infection.

For more information or questions about Health & Wellness counseling services, please contact the MISTER Center's Assistant HIV Testing Program Manager, Edreeysa Ashraf, at 678-365-4300 or email Edreeysa.

For management questions and concerns, please contact the MISTER Center Prevention Director, Danny Sprouse, at 678-365-4300 or email Danny.

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Social Networking

Serving on the MISTER Consumer Advisory Board (P-CAB) is a major volunteer opportunity for gay and bisexual men interested in being a part of the "behind-the-scenes" work of MISTER. The purpose of the P-CAB is to implement outreach for the awareness of the various services that are available to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) through the MISTER Center. The P-CAB recommends operational practices, advise on increasing agency staff accessibility to potential participants, disseminate information about various MISTER projects, participate in events for the community, assist with fundraising efforts for the MISTER Center, and review program curricula and offer feedback on cultural appropriateness for the gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men populations to MISTER Center management. For more information about serving on this critically important Board click here for the Board Bylaws and click here to download an application for service. Please print off, complete and sign the application. You can then hand deliver, mail or fax your application back to the attention of Edreeysa Ashraf.

For management questions and concerns, please contact the MISTER Center Prevention Director, Danny Sprouse, at 678-365-4300 or email Danny.

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