FAQ

+What kind of tests do you do?
We provide free finger stick, rapid HIV testing. The test processes in about twenty minutes. We also offer rapid Hepatitis C testing and a Syphilis health screen.
+Do I need an appointment?
Testing is on a first-come, first-served, walk-in basis. We make appointments on Wednesdays only.  If you have special circumstances or issues, please contact The Drop-In Center. If you prefer to be tested by a specific counselor, we recommend that you call ahead to see when they will be available.
+How much do the tests cost?
The tests are free.
+How long does it take?
The test itself takes about twenty minutes to administer and process. Please be prepared to be at The Drop-In Center for at least thirty minutes.
+Is it accurate?
Yes, the OraQuick test is more than 99% accurate at finding HIV antibodies if they are present. However, the body can take 3-6 months to start producing those antibodies after one contracts HIV. Someone who has contracted HIV may not test positive for up to 6 months. Certain medications may cause this window period to be even longer. We will ask in the testing session about these specific medications, so please be honest with us about your medical history.
+Do you test for other STDs?
No, The Drop-In Center tests only for HIV and Hepatitis C. If you are interested in testing for other STD’s we recommend you see your primary care doctor. Also, the

Roanoke City Health Department has a free STD clinic on Monday at 1:30pm and Wednesday at 12:30pm. These clinics are limited to the first ten people.

For more information, call the Roanoke City Health Department at 540-283-5050

+What kinds of condoms do you have?
We have a variety of latex and polyurethane (latex-free) condoms in a variety of colors, flavors and sizes. We also have dental dams and female condoms.

All condoms and barriers are free. You may come by any time during regular business hours to pick up condoms.

+Are there Drop-In Centers in other locations?
No. Other localities may have similar places that provide free tests for HIV that may be oral or blood tests, rapid or conventional. While others may not have any free HIV testing available to the general public. The Drop-In Center is the only Drop-In Center and serves Southwestern Virginia and is in no way affiliated with any other HIV testing sites anywhere else.

35 Things The Drop-In Center Wants You to Know About HIV/AIDS, STDs, Testing and Safer Behaviors

  1. Testing at The Drop-In Center is free and confidential. It takes twenty minutes to process and is finger stick test. All in all, you’ll probably be here for about 30 minutes.
  2. HIV tests don’t actually test for the virus itself, but test for antibodies which are your body’s response to having HIV. It takes a while for a body to start making these antibodies; that’s why we talk to you about a window period or might tell you to come back in a few months.
  3. The HIV test that we use, (OraQuick) is extremely accurate and extremely specific. Translation: it’s really good at doing its job.
  4. The more honest you are with us about what you’ve been up to, the better we can help you to decide how often you should test or what kinds of safer behaviors will be best for you. We want to work with you to find practical ways for you to be safer. We’ve heard it all, so don’t be shy.
  5. HIV is only spread by four bodily fluids; blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. In order for you to contract HIV, one of these fluids from someone who has HIV must come in contact with either your blood stream directly or a mucus membrane (anywhere you have a hole, you have a mucus membrane). Hugging, sharing utensils, beds and bathrooms, drinking after someone, shaking hands…you can’t get HIV from these things. You also can’t get HIV from mosquitoes, cats, bats, monkeys or animal bites.
  6. Just because you have sex with someone who is HIV positive, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are now, but it does mean you’ve been put at risk. On the other hand, if you don’t know your partners status, you’ve been put at risk as well. Don’t assume; get tested.
  7. It’s not my job to keep you from getting HIV; it’s my job to give you the information you need to keep yourself from getting HIV. If you have questions, ask. That’s what we’re here for!
  8. Not everyone who is HIV positive has or will ever have AIDS.
  9. Just using condoms “at the end” isn’t enough protection. Re-read #5 and think about it.
  10. Lamb skin or any kind of animal membrane condoms don’t protect against HIV or other STDs.
  11. Condoms have expiration dates! And they’re there for a reason!
  12. Please don’t spread rumors about people having HIV/AIDS whether it’s true or not. You don’t like people spreading your business; don’t spread theirs.
  13. If your date asks if you’ve been tested, don’t be offended. That individual is aware of their risk and acting responsibly. Lucky you!
  14. If you’ve never been tested, then you don’t know your status. Period. (This is also why it’s good to ask dates if they’ve ever been tested or how often they get tested rather than “you’re clean, right?” Someone who has never been tested and doesn’t know his/her status will say “Yeah!” to that.)
  15. The majority of people don’t have any symptoms for any STDs.
  16. Just because your partner is negative, doesn’t mean that you are. Never let someone else’s status stand for yours.
  17. Since HIV doesn’t discriminate, everyone should use safer practices with all partners even if you’re just “stepping out of the box” for a night or trying something new.
  18. If he/she is having unprotected sex with you, then chances are that he/she has had or is having unprotected sex with others as well.
  19. There still isn’t a cure for HIV. But it is treatable.
  20. If someone says they aren’t nervous, they’re lying. Everyone gets a little nervous when they get tested no matter how many times they’ve done it before.
  21. You can get all kinds of free condoms at The Drop-In Center. It’s not weird! People drop by and stock up all the time.
  22. Most of the time when condoms break, it’s because they weren’t used or stored properly. If you’re not sure you’re using condoms correctly, or if you’re having a lot break, stop by and we can give you info.
  23. Stop Googling HIV symptoms! Only get your info from VDH (http://www.vdh.state.va.us/Epidemiology/DiseasePrevention/) or CDC (www.cdc.gov click on “diseases and conditions”) websites. Plus, most people don’t really have any noticeable symptoms for years.
  24. Sharing tools like straws for snorting stuff or sharing crack pipes can be a risk for HIV. Use your own.
  25. Correctly bleaching needles used for injection drug use is the only acceptable way of cleaning them to reduce HIV risk when sharing.
  26. Needles that are used for hormone or steroid injection can’t be effectively bleached for safer sharing. Also, it is risky to share vials of hormones or steroids with someone who has been reusing their needles. If you have questions about safer injections for medical or recreational purposes, we’d be glad to help you out. Also, we can safely dispose of used sharps.
  27. Oral sex is a risk for HIV and other STDs. Topping isn’t really that much safer than bottoming. If you’re having any kind of unprotected sex, test AT LEAST once a year.
  28. If someone doesn’t want you to think “badly” of them, they might not be honest with you about their sexual history and previous/current drug use.
  29. Unless you’ve talked with your partner about being monogamous and you’ve both agreed to it, you can’t assume your relationship is monogamous. And PS, unfortunately, sometimes partners cheat.
  30. Monogamy isn’t a synonym for “faithful;” it’s not the opposite of “cheating,” it’s only having sex with one person and nobody else. Mutual monogamy is both of you not having sex with anybody else. Non-monogamy can be safe and we’re not afraid to talk with you about how that can work.
  31. HIV risk is pretty black and white. Emotions aren’t. We get it and we want to give you the information you need to make good decisions together about when to stop using condoms.
  32. If you tell me flat out that you’re not going to use condoms, no matter what your situation is, that’s cool with me. I can help you find other ways to reduce risk or we can just talk about how often you should test. We aren’t here to lecture or get judge-y.
  33. You can get tested for other STDs at the Roanoke City Health Department’s free STD Clinic on Mondays at 1:30 and Wednesdays at 12:30. They only take the first 10 people, and you must register that morning! They will do a blood draw to test for syphilis and take a urine sample for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. You call back in about a week for results. If those times don’t work for you, you can make an appointment by calling 540-283-5050. And the nurses there are really nice, so don’t be scared! Call them for info about testing for other STDs.
  34. No, we don’t give results on paper. If you need them faxed to a doctor or other professional, we can do that. If you would like to release your results to a partner, the best bet is to bring them with you; we have a release form you can fill out.
  35. If you have any questions, give us a call or stop by. We want to be a community resource, we want to help you keep yourself safe and we are all really passionate about our job!
  36. Maybe these things seem really elementary to you or maybe there are some that you’ve never heard before, but the fact is, these are the things we find ourselves saying a lot, so it seemed like a good idea to just put the answers out there in. We want you to know that we’re here for you! Come on down and check us out!! Our new location is right next door to the Roanoke City Police office on Campbell Ave in downtown Roanoke and we are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am-1pm and 2pm-5pm. We typically start our last test of the day around 4:30. We are closed on Wednesday, but you can make a pre-arranged appointment. Call if you have questions or need directions 540-982-2437.