Concurrent partnerships are a significant public health concern among men who have sex with men (MSM). This study describes the prevalence of concurrency and its association with serodiscordant/serostatus unknown unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse (SDUI) among MSM in New York City.
A total of 1458 MSM completed a social and sexual network inventory about their male and female sex partners, including concurrency, in the last 3 months. Logistic regression identified factors associated with SDUI.
Median age was 29 years. The proportion of participants who reported being HIV+ was 23.5%. The men reported a mean of 3.2 male partners in the last 3 months. The proportion of MSM who reported having recent SDUI was 16.6%. More than half (63.2%) described having concurrent sex partners (individual concurrency based on overlapping dates of relationships); 71.5% reported having partners whom they believed had concurrent partners (perceived partner concurrency); and 56.1% reported that both they and their partners had concurrent partners (reciprocal concurrency). Among HIV+ men by self-report, having SDUI was positively associated with individual concurrency, any alcohol use during sex, having more male sex partners, and not having a main partner. Among self-reported HIV− men, having SDUI was positively associated with perceived partner concurrency, lower education level, any alcohol and drug use during sex, having more male sex partners, and having an anonymous partner.
Concurrency was common among MSM. The association of SDUI with individual and perceived partner concurrency, along with substance use during sex, having an anonymous partner, and having many sex partners likely further increases HIV acquisition and transmission risk among MSM. HIV prevention interventions should address concurrency among MSM.