About Staying Negative

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.

Is he or isn't he? Serosorting

Serosorting is a HIV risk reduction strategy where guys try to work out if a potential sexual partner has the same HIV status as them in order to have unprotected sex It is important to point out that risk reduction does not eliminate the risk, but can potentially reduce it – and sometimes the risk is not reduced at all because the strategy is tricky to use and often ineffective. Furthermore the use of this strategy can result in stigmatising behaviour.

Rather than straight up asking someone, have you got HIV? The best way to tackle these situations would probably be to start talking about condoms and safe sex. The Top2Bottom campaign has some great information about why asking someone their status may not be the most reliable approach. Rather than asking the question, a better way of going about the conversation may be to voice out what you would prefer and why, before going on to asking them the same thing. This could then flow onto HIV discussions a bit easier.

The safest way to have casual sex is to always use condoms and water-based lube. Some guys assume that if their sex partner doesn’t mention condoms or doesn’t grab for one before getting into the action then they must be negative, whereas other guys just always assume everyone is positive and then always use condoms and water based lube for protection. Using condoms not only protects you from the transmission of HIV and STIs, it also allows you to avoid any conversations about each others’ HIV status. It’s the best way for you to enjoy a fun and healthy sex life with casual partners.

Tell us your story

Tell us your story


Come and tell us your story! We would love to hear from you! If you want to find out a little more about how it all works, give Jessie a call at VAC on (03) 9865 6700, or email staying.negative@vac.org.au