Understanding concurrent sexual partnerships among US men: examining relationship characteristics and racial differences Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Taylor, Eboni M.
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
  • Racial and ethnic minorities continue to be disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), in the United States. Concurrent sexual partnerships, those that overlap in time, have been associated with increased STI prevalence and increase the spread of infection through a network. Different patterns of concurrent partnerships may be associated with varying STI risk depending on the partnership type (primary vs. non-primary) and the likelihood of condom use with each concurrent partner. One pattern potentially associated with high STI risk involves concurrency in the context of a co-parenting relationship, one in which a man and woman are the joint biological parents of a child. We examined the relationship between co-parenting and concurrency using data from 4,928 male respondents age 15-44 in the National Survey of Family Growth Cycle 6. Among men engaging in concurrency in the past 12 months, 18% included a co-parent as at least one of the concurrent sex partners. One third of black men involved in co-parenting concurrency were <25 years, compared to 23% of Hispanics and 6% of whites. Young black men (age 15-24) were more likely to engage in co-parenting concurrency than white men, adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics, sexual and other high-risk behaviors, and relationship quality. The largest racial differences in co-parenting concurrency prevalence were observed among men age 15-24. In the second aim, concurrent partnerships were further classified based on pattern of overlap. Compared to men engaging in non-co-parenting concurrency, men engaging in co-parenting concurrency were more likely to report inconsistent condom use during the last month and less likely to have used a condom with either concurrent partner at last sexual intercourse in bivariable analyses. In multivariable analyses, concurrency duration was longer for men engaging in co-parenting concurrency than for men engaging in non-co-parenting concurrency, but there were no differences in STI preventive/protective behaviors. These findings show that co-parenting concurrency is more common among young black and Hispanic men and suggest that concurrency involving co-parents could be associated with a high risk of STI transmission. A comprehensive understanding of the types of concurrent sexual partnerships and the contexts in which they occur is necessary.
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  • "... in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health."
  • Behets, Frieda
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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