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.


Beats are public places such as parks, public toilets, carparks or alleyways where guys go to have sex with each other. There are no official advertisements, rules or staff associated with beats, you usually have to be privy to inside information. They’re passed on through word of mouth or discussed on online forums and websites such as www.squirt.org. Spontaneous sex at beats can be a lot of fun, and the adrenaline from sex in a public place with a random guy can be a big thrill. Be wary however, as having sex in a public place in Victoria is not illegal, but you can get arrested for indecent exposure or if you publicly offend someone such as a passerby. The attitudes of police have changed dramatically over the past few years. Nowadays police would usually just want to check that there are no major public disturbances going on, that all parties involved are consenting to the actions and that everyone is comfortable with what’s going on. This is not to say that police harassment doesn’t happen.

Beats can be a dangerous place where thugs loiter around or where “poofter bashers” go to beat up gay men. Due to the nature of beats where they’re often dark secluded areas, it’ll be hard to shout for help of have witnesses around if something goes wrong, so be weary. There have been cases of entrapment occurring where police pretend to go to have sex but arrest you on any account they can. This is becoming much rarer these days as police culture changes. If you experience or witness any violence occurring, report it to the police. Under no circumstances should violence be tolerated or accepted. Reporting it will help ensure the safety of you and other beat-goers in the future. There are also gay, lesbian or GLBTIQ-friendly officers you can talk to if that makes you feel more comfortable.

Tips for beats:

  • Go with a friend or tell someone where you’re going just to be safe.
  • Know the area well, look out for escape routes, hiding places or a public pay phone in case something goes wrong.
  • Try and be discreet and not make too much noise, you don’t want to attract unwanted attention. 
  • Don’t run or cause a false alarm as this will make people scatter and will not go down so well with other beat-goers.
  • Don’t butt in when you’re not wanted, group sex at beats is fun but it’s kind of awkward to try and get involved if they’re not interested so try and read their body language.
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