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.


When to have an STI test

Regular screening for STIs is strongly recommended. How often and exactly which screening tests you have depends on your particular life circumstances and safe sex practices. However, if you are having sex with different casual partners, it is a good idea to get tested at least every six months. If you are in a new relationship, monogamous or otherwise, it is advisable to get a checkup early as you may have contracted an STI from a previous partner. Even if you have only had sex once in the past 12 months or are in a monogamous relationship it is advised that you get a full sexual health check up at least once a year.

Whilst you can get tested for specific STIs, it’s advisable that you get a full STI screen because if there’s a chance you have been exposed to one STI or BBV there is a chance you have been exposed to others. A full STI screen should involve a throat swab, an anal swab, a blood test and a urine sample.

Think you may have an STI?

The following symptoms may be the result of an STI, however remember that many common STIs show no symptoms.

  • An unusual discharge from your cock;
  • Itching or stinging when you urinate;
  • Sores, blisters or rashes in the genital area or around the arse.
  • Blood or pain when you take a shit;

So what tests are for what STIs?

Anal/throat/blister swabs
An anal swab, throat swab or blister swab can be used to test for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes, Lymphoma Granuloma Venereum, Non-Specific Urethritis and Syphilis. A herpes swab can only be taken when there is a sore present.

Urine samples
A urine test can be used to test for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Non-Specific Urethritis.

Blood test
Blood tests can detect Herpes, Hepatitis A, B and C, Syphilis and HIV.
The presence of antibodies in the blood indicates that you have been exposed to one of these infections. However antibodies do not show up straight away after being infected before tests can detect antibodies in the blood. This time period is different for different infections. It is important to get tested again to be sure.

Visual examination
A medical practitioner can detect warts, mollucsum contagiousum,scabies and crabs by looking at the potentially infected area. In the case of shigella, a visual examination of the stool (shit) is required.

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