Characterizing concurrent partnerships in Cape Town, South Africa

Posted on Wed, Feb 18 2015 08:22:00

SACEMA researchers, Roxanne Beauclair and Wim Delva, recently published the results of their study on concurrent partnerships in Cape Town, in the Journal of the International AIDS Society (JIAS). Concurrent partnerships have been suggested as a risk factor for transmitting HIV, but their impact on the epidemic depends upon how prevalent they are in populations, the average number of concurrent partnerships an individual has, and the length of time they overlap. However, estimates of prevalence of concurrent partnerships in Southern Africa vary widely, and the duration of overlap in these relationships is poorly documented. They set out to characterize concurrency in a more accurate and complete manner, using data from three disadvantaged communities of Cape Town, South Africa. They conducted a sexual behaviour survey (n=878) using Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviewing to collect sexual relationship histories on partners in the previous year. Using the beginning and end dates for the partnerships, they calculated the point prevalence, cumulative prevalence and incidence rate of concurrent partnerships, as well as the duration of overlap for relationships begun in the previous year. Linear and binomial regression models were used to quantify race and gender differences in the duration of overlap and relative risk of having concurrent partnerships in the past year. The results indicate that in this population the prevalence of concurrent partnerships is relatively high and is characterized by overlaps of long duration, implying there may be opportunities for HIV to be transmitted to concurrent partners. 

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