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Condom Use and Duration of Concurrent Partnerships Among Men in the United States

Doherty, Irene A. PHD*; Schoenbach, Victor J. PHD; Adimora, Adaora A. MD, MPH*†

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: May 2009 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p 265-272
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318191ba2a
Articles

Objectives: Concurrent partnerships accelerate dissemination of STIs. Most investigations of the features of concurrent partnerships have focused on higher risk subpopulations.

Goal: To assess condom use and the duration of concurrent sexual partnerships among men in the United States.

Study Design: Analysis of concurrent sexual partnerships among men in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth. We classified pairs of concurrent partnerships into 3 types: transitional, contained, and experimental concurrency, and assessed the duration of overlap. We also report the distribution of condom use at the 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 sex partner.

Results: The duration of overlap was <1 month in 32%, 1 to 3 months in 19%, and >12 months in 25% of concurrency pairs. Half (55%) of the pairs (whites, 64%; blacks, 41%) involved unprotected sex at the last sexual intercourse with at least 1 partner. The 35% of men who were more likely to use condoms with neither sex partner at the last sexual intercourse were older, white (48%), married/cohabitating (55%), and during the previous 12 months were incarcerated (49%), or used crack/cocaine (51%).

Conclusions: 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. Continued investigation of features of sexual partnership patterns is critical for curbing STI and HIV transmission.

This analysis of male respondents in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth describes features of concurrent sexual partnerships including duration, patterns, and condom use.

From the *Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and †Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

We thank Anjani Chandra, Ph.D., for helpful consultations concerning the National Survey of Family Growth (Cycle 6).

Supported by grant from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award 2 T32 AI007001-29 (to I.A.D) and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 1R21HD054293-01A1 (to A.A.A).

Correspondence: Irene A. Doherty, PhD, 130 Mason Farm Rd. Suite 2118 CB 7030, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7030. E-mail:doherty@med.unc.edu

Received for publication, May 27, 2008, and accepted October 15, 2008.

© Copyright 2009 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association