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.

How to Protect Myself

Prevention against STIs

The best way to protect yourself against acquiring or passing on STIs is to use condoms with water-based or silicon based lubricant, however, it doesn't protect against all STIs. Those such as genital/anal warts or crabs can easily be passed on through skin-to-skin contact and condoms will not be effective. 

It is possible to pass on STIs such as gonorrhoea when giving head (oral sex), so if you want to be completely sure, then use condoms and lube as soon as things start to get hot and heavy. Put a condom on early so you don't have to kill the mood by stopping in the heat of the moment. 

Using condoms may not feel very natural at first and some people find they lose their erection if they use condoms, however, this is usually due to not having the correct sized condoms. Condoms can be a fun part of foreplay and sex so experiment with them a little so that you feel comfortable using them as well as know which brands/sizes suit your best.

Visit the Erections, condoms & lube page to learn more about how condoms work and how to use them correctly.

If you’re fucking in a group situation make sure you change condoms every time you fuck a different guy. The same goes for toys. A good rule of thumb is: replace the condom every time you or a toy goes into a different person.

If you see sores or cuts on a guys cock, you might want to stick to condoms because they could be from an STI. However, when you're in the moment, you don't exactly want to be peering closely, or it could be dark, so visually inspecting a guy's cock isn't alway realistic.

For more details on how to protect yourself when giving or recieving head (blow jobs / oral sex), check out the Oral Sex page. 

You might want to fuck without condoms because you can feel sensations. The safest way to fuck without condoms whilst still preventing against STI transmission is to get tested regularly or have a conversation with the guy you're hooking up with and ask him when was the last time he was tested. This involves an element of trust.  

If you're having regular casual sex, it is recommended that you get tested for STIs at leats once every three months. 

Prevention against HIV

There are more ways than ever before to protect against HIV. As mentioned with protecting against STI transmission, condoms and lube also stand to protect against HIV effectively. However, some guys may really not want to use condoms when they're fucking. 

PrEP for HIV negative guys 

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily medication you can take to prevent yourself against HIV. It is important that you learn about PrEP more before you start taking it, so read up about it on the PrEP page. 

Undetectable Viral Load for positive guys

A HIV positive guy with an undetectable viral load (UVL) means that they are on treatmennt and the level of HIV virus in their blood is so low they cannot pass on HIV when fucking without condoms. 
Treatment has come such a long way that achieving an undetectable viral load whilst living a healthy lifestyle is quite common for HIV positive guys. 

What if I get infected? What is Post-Exposure Prophylaxis? (PEP) 

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is offered to healthcare workers who get needle-stick industries or individuals who may have been exposed to HIV. If you think you have been infected with HIV in some way, or there is the possibility that you have come into contact with it within the past 72 hours, go to the doctor immediately and get PEP. Make sure you fully disclose as truthfully as you can to the doctor what activities you’ve been up to. Even if you were completely smashed from drinking (or partying) too much and you can’t remember, make sure you mention that too. If you do take PEP it has to be within 72 hours from the time you got exposed. PEP consists of antiretroviral drugs taken over a 4 week period. There can be some unpleasant side effects such as cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches and tiredness.

There is no guarantee that PEP will prevent an HIV infection, but it greatly reduces the chances. It’s a complicated treatment that often consists of a combination of at least two antiretroviral drugs taken together and you must stick to the treatment plan.

If you do take the PEP it’s important to remember that it’s not a morning after pill and should not replace safe sex practices. To prevent transmission of HIV it is best to always use condoms and lube.


Getting tested regularly allows you to always be on top of your HIV status. If you are monogamous with a long term partner and you want to stop using condoms. You can eliminate the risk of HIV by getting and HIV test and then getting a second HIV test three months later before you stop using condoms. For this process to work, partners need to continue using condoms with each other (and with any casual partners) until they get the second test results. 

In order to work, the process requires a high level of discussion and trust between the partners about always using condoms if they have sex with anyone else and being honest with each other if one of them breaks this agreement. It can be a difficult conversation to have if your relationship is monogamous, however, it is better to have a clear discussion before it happens rather than try and figure it out at the time.

Many HIV-positive men choose to have unprotected sex with other HIV-positive men. Whilst there is no longer a risk of transmitting HIV you still run the risk of getting other STIs which will impact on your viral load or even severely interfere with your general health and HIV treatments, such as Hepatitis C.

During foreplay it can be tempting to just stick the tip of your cock in without first putting on a condom. This is risky because pre-cum can carry higher levels of HIV or STIs, so you're better off putting the condom on before you really get into it so you don't have to break the mood mid way. 

When injecting

Safe Injecting practices are vital to anyone who chooses to use injecting as their preferred method of ingesting their drugs. It only takes an invisible drop of someone else’s infected blood to expose you to HIV (and/or Hep C). Here are a few tips on how to minimise your chances of contracting an infection or a blood borne virus:

  • Always use new injecting equipment every time you inject drugs. VAC/GMHC offers a needle and syringe exchange program, however there are many others around Australia; find your local one at www.serviceseeker.com.au
  • Wash your hands before and after injecting. Try maintaining a clean area; you can use a sheet of plastic or a garbage bag, and put all your equipment on top.
  • Use sterile equipment and avoid sharing – needles, syringes, swabs, spoons filters, water and tourniquets.
  • Place all used injecting equipment into a special sharps disposal unit/hard plastic/glass bottle and return it to your needle exchange.
  • Dispose of your plastic surface by sealing it in two plastic bags and binning it.
  • Any blood spills should be wiped up with bleach immediately.

When tattooing

Make sure body artists use new and sterile equipment for tattooing, body piercing and other body art.


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