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Condom Use and Duration of Concurrent Partnerships Among Men in the U.S.

June 16, 2009

"Concurrent partnerships accelerate dissemination of STIs [sexually transmitted infections]. Most investigations of the features of concurrent partnerships have focused on higher risk subpopulations," the authors of the current study explained. Using data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, they assessed condom use and duration of concurrent sexual partnerships among US men.

Concurrent partnership pairs were classified into three types -- transitional, contained, and experimental concurrency -- and duration of overlap was assessed. Distribution of condom use at last sexual intercourse with neither, one or both concurrent partners of each pair and characteristics of men more likely to have used condoms with neither partner were reported.

Study results showed the duration of overlap was less than one month in 32 percent, one to three months in 19 percent, and more than 12 months in 25 percent of concurrency pairs. Fifty-five percent of the pairs (whites, 64 percent; blacks, 41 percent) involved unprotected sex at last sexual intercourse with at least one partner. Of the 35 percent of men who were more likely to use condoms with neither sex partner at last sexual intercourse, most were older, white (48 percent), married/cohabitating (55 percent), and during the previous 12 months were incarcerated (49 percent) or used crack/cocaine (51 percent).

"Although blacks generally experience higher rates of STIs and HIV, in this representative sample of men in the United States, blacks in concurrent partnerships seemed to use the only available protection (condoms) against infection (apart from abstinence) more than other racial/ethnic groups," the authors concluded. "Continued investigation of features of sexual partnership patterns is crucial for curbing STI and HIV transmission."

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Adapted from:
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
05.2009; Vol. 36; No. 5: P. 265-272; Irene A. Doherty, PhD; Victor J. Schoenbach, PhD; Adaora A. Adimora, MD

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.


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