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Concurrent Partnerships Among Adolescents in a Latino Community: The Mission District of San Francisco, California

Doherty, Irene A. PhD*†; Minnis, Alexandra PhD; Auerswald, Colette L. MD, MS; Adimora, Adaora A. MD, MPH*; Padian, Nancy S. PhD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: July 2007 - Volume 34 - Issue 7 - p 437-443
doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000251198.31056.7d

Objectives: Latino adolescents in the United States are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections, yet knowledge of their sexual networks, particularly concurrent sex partners, is limited.

Goal: The goal of this study was to describe the prevalence, patterns, and correlates of sexual concurrency among adolescents in an urban neighborhood.

Study Design: The authors conducted cross-sectional analyses of 368 sexually active youth recruited from public venues within a predominantly Latino neighborhood in San Francisco, California.

Results: During the prior 6 months, 20% of sexually experienced youth had concurrent partnerships, but this was more likely among males (27%) as females (12%) (odds ratio = 2.6; 95% confidence interval = 1.5–4.5). Sexually transmitted infection prevalence was too low to examine its association with concurrency. Factors that increased the likelihood of concurrency among males included: immigrant generation and being below grade level; and among females: older age and use of illegal substances.

Conclusions: Ample opportunities to transmit sexually transmitted infections through concurrency were present, yet very few adolescents were infected, perhaps owing to adequate condom use within a neighborhood with low sexually transmitted infection prevalence.

Although the prevalence of concurrent sex partners was high among a venue-based sample of predominantly Latino youth in San Francisco, the prevalence of sexually transmitted infection was quite low, perhaps owing to sufficient condom use within a community with a low prevalence of sexually transmitted infection.

From the *School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and the †Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and the ‡Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of California–San Francisco, San Francisco, California

The authors thank the San Francisco Department of Public Health for testing specimens free of charge and the community leaders who endorsed our project. The authors especially thank Carla Rodas, MPH, our Field Director, for her tireless efforts. Finally, the authors are most grateful to the study participants for their time.

The Mission Teen Health Project was funded through grants from NIAID (R01-AI48749), NICHD (1K23 HD01490) and the University-wide AIDS Research Program, University of California (M00-SF-056 & 057A). Manuscript preparation was funded through a training grant from NIAID (5 T32 AI007151-27).

Correspondence: Irene A. Doherty, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 130 Mason Farm Road, CB 7030, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7030. E-mail:

Received for publication July 26, 2005, and accepted October 2, 2006.

© Copyright 2007 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association