Original Paper

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 7, pp 2376-2386

First online:

Partnership Concurrency and Coital Frequency

  • Lauren GaydoshAffiliated withOffice of Population Research and Department of Sociology, Princeton University Email author 
  • , Georges ReniersAffiliated withDepartment of Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • , Stéphane HelleringerAffiliated withHeilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

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National HIV prevalence estimates across sub-Saharan Africa range from less than 1 percent to over 25 percent. Recent research proposes several explanations for the observed variation, including prevalence of male circumcision, levels of condom use, presence of other sexually transmitted infections, and practice of multiple concurrent partnerships. However, the importance of partnership concurrency for HIV transmission may depend on how it affects coital frequency with each partner. The coital dilution hypothesis suggests that coital frequency within a partnership declines with the addition of concurrent partners. Using sexual behavior data from rural Malawi and urban Kenya, we investigate the relationship between partnership concurrency and coital frequency, and find partial support for the coital dilution hypothesis. We conclude the paper with a discussion of our findings in light of the current literature on concurrency.


Concurrency Coital frequency HIV/AIDS Malawi Kenya