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.


What is it?

Scabies are caused by an infestation of tiny eight-legged mites (Sarcoptes scabei), which are even smaller than crabs. The female mites burrow under the skin to lay eggs which hatch into larvae after 10 – 14 days which then travel back up to the surface of the skin.


Symptoms usually develop three to four weeks after exposure or as quickly as 24 – 36 hours if you have been exposed before. This is because your immune system takes less time to respond if it is already familiar with the parasite. The mites are very hard to see and the main symptom of scabies is intense itching caused by the mites burrowing into the skin and the larvae crawling out. This is usually most intense at night or after a hot shower and can affect large areas of the body. The mites prefer warm areas such as the armpits, groin area and between your fingers or toes.

Interesting fact; if you think you may have scabies try shining a UV light on the infected area as you should be able to see the burrows under your skin.


Scabies is passed on by close skin-to-skin contact such as touching, hugging or sexual acts. The mites can survive away from humans for up to 36 hours so can be passed on through towels, bed linen or underwear.


Scabies can be treated with anti-scabies lotions which you do not need a prescription for, and can be picked up from pharmacies. The lotion works best after a shower and should be rubbed all over the entire body. It should be left on for up to 24 hours and if you shower during that 24 hour period then make sure you re-apply the lotion. During treatment make sure that all towels, recently worn clothes and bed linen are properly washed in warm soapy water.

Treatment should be repeated after seven days and all recent sexual partners or those you come into close contact with such as family members should be tested and treated as well. The itching can last up to four weeks after treatment even if it was successful.

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