, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 34-37
Date: 11 Dec 2009

The Concurrency Hypothesis in Sub-Saharan Africa: Convincing Empirical Evidence is Still Lacking. Response to Mah and Halperin, Epstein, and Morris

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We would like to thank the authors for their comments on our article that questioned the amount and quality of the evidence to support the hypothesis that concurrent partnerships are a key driver of the HIV epidemics in Africa [8]. All three letters agree with us that we “raise some valid concerns” that the “evidence for this link is still somewhat limited” [10] and that further research is needed [3, 11]. We note further that the three letters were from the most vocal concurrency advocates, and do not necessarily represent mainstream opinion about the current state of knowledge on this important topic [7].

Although the purpose of our article was not to provide an extensive and complete literature review but rather to comment on Mah and Halperin’s work (which they themselves called “a selective review” [9]), Epstein faults us for displaying “a highly selective reading” of the literature [3]. Repeating the points made by Mah and Halperin in favor of the concurrency hypothesis would have