FRIDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- The overall number of men's sexual partners, not partnership concurrence, is associated with the risk of women's HIV acquisition in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a study published in the July 16 HIV special issue of The Lancet.
Frank Tanser, Ph.D., from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Mtubatuba, South Africa, and colleagues investigated whether men's concurrent sexual partnerships increase the risk of HIV incidence in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a moving-window approach, geographical variation in concurrent and lifetime partners in 2,153 sexually active men between the ages of 15 and 55 years was approximated. A total of 7,284 HIV-negative women aged 15 years or older were followed for five years to determine the impact of the sexual behavior profiles of the men in the surrounding area on a woman's risk of acquiring HIV.
The investigators found that, during follow-up there were 693 new female HIV infections (incidence of 3.60 cases per 100 person-years). Among sexually active men, there was substantial intercommunity heterogeneity in the approximated point-prevalence of partnership concurrency with a mean of 31.5 percent (range, 4.0 to 76.3 percent) and the mean number of lifetime partners of 6.3 (range, 3.4 to 12.9). The mean lifetime number of partners of the local population of men was a significant predictor of the risk of HIV acquisition in women (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.08), after adjusting for individual sexual behavior, and other factors. A high prevalence of partnership concurrency was not associated with increased HIV risk (HR, 1.02; P = 0.556).
"We find no evidence to suggest that concurrent partnerships are an important driver of HIV incidence in this typical high-prevalence rural African population," the authors write.
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