Background: Although the role of concurrent sexual partnerships (i.e., having sexual activity with another partner after a current partnership has been established) has been most strongly associated with the transmission of bacterial sexually transmitted infections, its role in the transmission of viral sexually transmitted infections, specifically human papillomavirus (HPV) is less clear.
Methods: Analysis of risk behavior data collected from 812 women screened for HPV as part of a sentinel surveillance project conducted in a family planning clinic, a primary care clinic, and 2 sexually transmitted disease clinics in Los Angeles, CA.
Results: The mean age of participants was 34.2 years (range: 18–65), with 31.8% identifying as African American 32.8% as Asian, and 28.4% as Hispanic. The overall prevalence of high-risk HPV (HR-HPV) was 21.7% and was higher among women who reported a concurrent partnership (25.7%) as compared to those who reported no concurrency (17.1%; P = 0.004). In multivariate analysis, concurrency was associated with HR-HPV and this relationship varied by race/ethnicity. Among Hispanic women those reporting a concurrent partnership were nearly twice as likely to have HR-HPV as compared to those who did not report concurrency (adjusted odds ration [AOR] = 1.71; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.13–2.58). However, among African American women those who reported a concurrent partnership were less likely to be diagnosed with HR-HPV (AOR = 0.60; 95% CI: 0.37–0.98).
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that concurrency is associated with HR-HPV and that there may be differences by race/ethnicity in the individual or partnership characteristics of those who report concurrency.