Partnership concurrency and coital frequency in rural Malawi

Lauren Gaydosh, Princeton University
Georges Reniers, Princeton University
Stephane Helleringer, Columbia University

HIV prevalence estimates for sub-Saharan Africa range from less than 1 percent to over 25 percent across the region (UNAIDS 2008). Recent research proposes several explanations for the observed variation, including prevalence of male circumcision, condom use, presence of other sexually transmitted infections, and multiple and concurrent partnerships (Bongaarts et al. 2008). The importance of partnership concurrency likely depends on how it affects coital frequency. This study examines the effect of multiple concurrent partnerships on the frequency of sexual intercourse in a sample of sexual relationships in Likoma, Malawi. Using innovative sexual network data we are able to compare information on sexual relationships and coital frequency from both partners in the dyad, attempting to mitigate the effect of respondent reporting bias that troubles similar investigations and making a unique contribution to the literature.

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Presented in Session 100: Emerging patterns of sexual networking in the era of HIV/AIDS