Staying Negative aims to emotionally engage, inspire and facilitate imagination in sexual health practices. The campaign profiles the real life stories of gay, bisexual and trans men who have sex with men (MSM). Men talk about all aspects of their life from coming out, relationships, sexuality and a broad range of other topics. While HIV and safe sex is an important part of all stories, it is not the exclusive focus.
Prior HIV prevention campaigns have traditionally focused on providing gay men with information that will encourage them to adopt safe sex behaviours. In reality, safe sex practices are influenced by a whole range of environmental and cultural factors. The campaign also provides an opportunity for HIV positive men to talk about their lives and discuss how their strategies to staying HIV negative were not successful. We understand that there is more than one way practice safe sex and adopt healthcare seeking behaviours, so let's be creative about it!
There are no real criteria for participants other than that they are MSM and happy to have their stories appear as part of the campaign. In addition to the personal stories, the website provides information on HIV/AIDS, sexual health, relationships and broad of the other relevant topics including domestic violence, drugs and alcohol and depression.
If you have been involved in the party scene, it’s likely you’ve been exposed to drugs or alcohol. Some guys feel like they need a drink to loosen up in order to pick up or have fun. As Ethan puts it in his story; “For me, it’s definitely easier to pick up someone if you’ve had something to drink beforehand because your confidence goes up and your standards come down.”
Having a drink now and again to relax or boost your confidence is fine, but make sure you don’t become reliant on it. Drugs and alcohol can bring temporarily relief to feelings of depression or low self esteem, but this is only a short term resolution. If you are using drugs and alcohol frequently as a means of escape, it may be worth talking to someone and dealing with the underlying issues first. If you do choose to drink and take some party drugs, just make sure you use them in responsible ways and take care of yourself. Some people will limit their alcohol intake to just a couple drinks a night or will make sure they don’t mix alcohol and drugs as this can cause uncertain reactions. Make sure you monitor your water intake and have frequent chill out periods during the night. It’s a good idea to tell a friend exactly what you’ve taken so that you can keep a look out for each other. Never buy drugs of people you do not know and therefore cannot trust – because you can’t be sure of what you are getting. Don’t forget that drugs and alcohol affect each person differently, so just because a friend of yours can handle heaps, just be weary of how much you’re taking.
The main problem with drugs and alcohol is that it negatively affects your health as well as it changes your risk perception of certain situations. Your inhibitions tend to go down and you tend to take more risks with regards to your health and safety. Being ‘totally out of it’ is not an excuse for doing something really stupid because the effects could be detrimental and long term. Try and always keep safe packs (i.e., a condom and sachet of lube) on you, so that if you do end up in a casual hook up situation, you’ve got them easily accessible. Another good tip is to leave condoms and lube on your bedside table so that if you do end up bringing someone home, they will see the condoms and understand your expectations of safe sex without needing a verbal negotiation.
Some people like to use drugs to vamp up their sex life. Using drugs during sex can sometimes cause problems in the sack, such as problems getting or maintaining an erection. So be wary of the effects that particular drugs can have on you. For example, crystal meth can cause erection problems and when it’s two guys fucking this creates a unique problem where if the top can’t get it up he may decide to bottom. If he is unused to bottoming, his body may not be able to handle this as easily, and in the heat of the moment damage may occur.
On the flip side, small amounts of alcohol, methamphetamines or amphetamines can make you unable to cum and keep your hard on for a longer period of time. This means that you may be fucking someone for a lot longer than usual, and this can cause the skin to chafe or tear which increases the risk of HIV and STI transmission occurring. Similarly, if you are so out of it, you may get fucked for a longer period of time than you can usually handle, which can cause your arse or rectum to tear.
If you are in a situation where you think either you or a friend has overdosed, call an ambulance on 000 immediately. Whilst you may be scared of getting caught with drugs, the Victorian Ambulance service is committed to privacy and will not notify the police unless they see you committing a crime.
For more information on the effects of specific drugs, have a read of our Party N’ Play section on the Sex page. If you want to read up on the effects on drugs on people living with HIV, have a look at our Living with HIV section on the Sexual Health page.