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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 and Linkage to Care
STI Screening and Treatment
PrEP Clinic
RAPP Services
Volunteer/P-CAB

HIV Testing and Linkage to Care Services

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, the Center provides linkage to medical care 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.

MISTER is proud to be able to offer confidential rapid 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 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 rapid HIV test result.

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 almost immediately. If you are receiving other services (such as STI screenings), your HIV test will be conducted first, and then your STI samples will be collected. Once the test has processed, the counselor will provide you with your test result the same day you have the test. MISTER currently uses INSTI, and the test will be performed in a private counseling room, and the test will process on the table in front of you with almost an immediate result.

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 if you want the card). You also will have the option to sign up for our auto reminder service, which automatically sends you a generic text reminding you that it's time for your next test, and you may be offered other services (such as meeting with the PrEP Clinic Coordinator) that might be of interest to you.

If your test result is reactive (preliminary positive), we will need to conduct an additional test and obtain blood work to confirm your preliminary result. While false positives are extremely rare today, it still can happen and so your first test is considered to be a PRELIMINARY positive, and does not confirmt that you have HIV, though the likelihood is that you do. Most medical providers will not treat for HIV based on just one reactive rapid HIV test. The second test is critically important in confirming that you actually have HIV, and with that information you can begin medical care for HIV management. Depending on the technology used at the time, you might have another fingerstick test and be given your results the same day, or a blood sample may be 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. If you are confirmed to be HIV positive, we can, in most cases, link you into HIV medical care the same day. Please be aware that we never provide any HIV testing results over the phone regardless of whether they are negative or positive.

Again, false positives are rare, and if your preliminary test is reactive/positive, it is very likely that you have HIV. However, 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, Chlamydia and viral hepaitits, CLEAR coaching and counseling, RAPP services, and support groups, as well as to other agency departments including Mental Health, Psychiatry and Substance Abuse 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 medical 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 13 without regard to race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation.

For more information or questions about HIV testing and the testing process, 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 and Treatment Services

Screenings for syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and hepatitis B and C are offered at the MISTER Center during regular hours. No appointment is necessary to undergo a lab screening. However, if you have symptoms and need to be seen by a medical provider, you must make an appointment prior to arrival. Screenings are available on a walk-in basis only, but treatments are only by appointment. We cannot treat individuals who just walk into the clinic reporting they have symptoms.

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, Chlamydia and hepatitis B and C. Syphilis and hepatitis B and C are screened via a blood sample collection; gonorrhea and Chlamydia are screened via an oral throat swab, a rectal swab and a urine sample collection. The current price for STI screening is $150. That fee covers all of the above-mentioned screens. Should you only want to receive one screen (for example, you only want to be screened for syphilis), you are welcome to do that and decline the other screens, but the cost is still $150. Since you will be paying the same price anyway, and if you were potentially exposed to one STI you might have been exposed to others, it is in your best interest to simply have the entire STI screening panel completed. In addition, if your results return showing that you do not have immunity to hepatitis B, you also will be offered vaccination for hepatitis A and B at no additional cost to you, as the vaccination is covered under the $150 fee should you need it.

Some individuals have asked why we collect samples using an oral swab, a rectal swab and a urine collection for gonorrhea and Chlamydia screening. 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. Also, some individuals, especially men, believe that if they are not the bottom (receptive partner) during anal sex there is no need to have the rectal swab, however, all males, regardless of sexual activity, should undergo the rectal screening as well.

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. All females undergoing screening for gonorrhea and Chlamydia will be offered the oral swab and urine collection, but the rectal swab option is not available to female clients 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 ($85).

Please note that the prices for treatment 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. The free screening is ONLY for the same STI infection for which you tested positive. For example, if you tested positive for gonorrhea, you will only be rescreened for gonorrhea in 90 days, not for syphilis, Chlamydia or hepatitis.

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. If you wish to be seen in the MISTER STI Clinic, you can call the clinic at 678.365.4300 to speak with the STI Program Manager who can schedule you for a medical visit. The medical provider will only provide treatment if there are very clear, obvious symptoms of an infection. They cannot treat just based on your word that you have had symptoms. MISTER medical providers are unable to treat walk-in patients. You must have an appointment to be seen for STI treatment.

The agency only treats positive cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia. If you test positive for hepatitis, you will be linked to the Emory Liver Clinic for further evaluation and possible treatment. We also are unable to treat other STI cases such as herpes, genital warts or trichomoniasis. If you believe you have symptoms of those or other STIs or need screening for those STIs please seek out a medical provider or go to your nearest public health department.

SPECIAL NOTE: Your counselor 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 you do not inform all of your sex partners to get 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? Getting treated for an STI does not make you immune, and you can get reinfected with the same STI immediately after treatment if you are exposed to it again.

For more information or questions about STI screening and treatment, 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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PrEP Clinic

The MISTER Center has launched its own in-house PrEP Clinic.

The cost for one full year (12 months) of enrollment in the PrEP Clinic is $300, which is paid in four increments of $75 per visit x 4 primary visits throughout the 12 months. These fees cover the administrative, medical and lab expenses associated with your enrollment in the program, will cover all medical care visits in the PrEP Clinic and getting a prescription for Truvada, the medication provided as PrEP. All fees paid are nonrefundable.  You are free to exit the program and discontinue your enrollment in the PrEP Clinic at any time by simply notifying the PrEP Clinic Coordinator that you wish to discontinue.

The fees for PrEP cover all of the following services throughout the year, delivered at appropriate intervals as needed for your optimum medical care as determined by your PrEP Coordinator and medical provider:

The PrEP Clinic Coordinator will discuss your payment options with you, and you can pay with cash, check or credit card. Note that the cost of the medication, Truvada, is not covered by the clinic or the agency, and all medication costs are your responsibility, and are between you, your insurance carrier (if you have one) and the pharmacy.  The PrEP Clinic Coordinator will help you to review your various financial assistance options if needed.

For more information or questions about the services offered through the PrEP Clinic, please contact the MISTER Center's PrEP Clinic Coordinator, Shawn Carey, at 678-365-4300 or email Shawn.

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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RAPP

The Realistic Alternatives Prevention Project (RAPP) has multiple service options under one program.

TLC: Together Learning Choices – Acting Safe

A program for youth living with HIV between ages 13-29.
TLC focuses on improving one’s health and engaging in healthy relationships. TLC is an 8-week closed group where participants meet for 2 hours, once a week.

Program Overview: Together Learning Choices – Acting Safe is an evidenced based intervention for helping young people living with HIV to identify ways deal with the issues that come with a new status. The TLC program offered at the MISTER Center is currently recruiting youth that have been diagnosed with HIV for less than a year.

TLC has 3 components:

First, it serves as a safe place to be around other HIV positive young individuals who you may have shared experiences with or backgrounds.

Second, TLC helps individuals learn through role playing, interactive games, and open discussions. TLC is very educational but fun!

Lastly, TLC is a closed support group. That means anyone who is interested can join before the start of the first session. Once TLC starts enrollment is closed until the next cycle to protect confidentiality and encourage cohesion among group members.

Core elements of TLC:

Topics covered in sessions include such subjects as:

Benefits of Participation:

MET: Motivational Enhancement Therapy

The MISTER Center at Positive Impact Health Centers has the right program for you!
 
The WHAT: MET Goals is an opportunity to meet one-on-one with a coach who will help you to explore personal goals, commit to an action plan, and support you in achieving success.

The WHY
: Have you ever wanted to talk to someone about PrEP?  Do you know about PrEP and how it can be used as a powerful prevention tool for HIV-negative individuals? Are you HIV-positive and need help communicating with your partner about safer sex or disclosing your status? Do you need support in reducing your substance use such as alcohol or marijuana? Are you feeling a lot of peer pressure to do things you really don't want to do?

The HOW:
MET Goals is a 4-session program tailored to your individual needs and schedule. In the first two sessions, a coach works with you to clarify your goal, discuss the tools you already have and those you need, in order to develop a clear action plan in one-on-one, face-to-face sessions. Then, you spend a few weeks in the real world trying it out! After that, you can come back for two final face-to-face sessions or you can opt to have your final two sessions via telephone to look over what worked, what didn’t, and what you can stick with moving forward.

The WHO: This is a program for ANY individual who is ready, or even just considering, to make a change in their substance use (including tobacco and alcohol) or to improve their  sexual health related to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

The WHEN: Anytime the MISTER Center is open, we can schedule you in! We are enrolling for this program right now, so feel free to reach out to either of our stellar coaches. MET does require an appointment and we cannot see individuals on a walk-in basis for this program.

Smoking Cessation

Are you currently a smoker and wondering if it would be in your best interest to stop? If you would like some help and support to kick the habit, call one of our RAPP counselors who will set up an appointment for you to enroll in the smoking cessation program.

Media Literacy

Do you feel overwhelmed with social media. Does advertising and marketing cause you to feel impulsive to buy things or use products you don't want to. Our medial literacy program can help!

For more information or questions about any of the RAPP elements, please contact the MISTER Center's RAPP Counselors, Kasarah Phillips or William Wheaton at 678-365-4300, or email Kasarah or Will.

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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Volunteer Opportunities/P-CAB

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, or complete it electronically and email it to Edreeysa. You can also hand deliver, mail or fax your application back to the attention of Edreeysa Ashraf. If you have questions about the P-CAB, please call Edreeysa 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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