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Prevalence and Correlates of Sexual Partner Concurrency Among Australian Gay Men Aged 18–39 Years

Abstract

Mathematical models predict higher rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in populations with higher rates of concurrent sexual partnerships. Although gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have disproportionately high rates of HIV/STIs, little is known about the prevalence and correlates of sexual concurrency in these populations. This paper reports findings from a national community-based survey of 1,034 Australian gay-identified men aged 18–39 years, who gave detailed information about their sexual partners over the past 12 months. In all, 237 (23 %) reported two or more concurrent sexual partners. For their most recent period of concurrency, 44 % reported three or more partners and 66 % reported unprotected sex with one or more of their partners. A multivariate logistic regression found sexual concurrency was significantly more likely among men on higher incomes (P = 0.02), who first had anal sex at a relatively young age (P = 0.03), and who reported a large number of partners in the past 12 months (P < 0.001). Age, education, HIV status, and other sociodemographic and sexual behavior variables were not significant correlates. However, men who reported sexual concurrency were significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with an STI in the past 12 months (P = 0.04). Findings from this study suggest sexual concurrency is common among younger Australian gay men. With many of these men not always using condoms, health agencies should consider the potential impact of concurrency on HIV/STI epidemics among gay men and other MSM.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

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Correspondence to Anthony Lyons.

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Lyons, A., Hosking, W. Prevalence and Correlates of Sexual Partner Concurrency Among Australian Gay Men Aged 18–39 Years. AIDS Behav 18, 801–809 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-013-0613-y

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Keywords

  • Sexual concurrency
  • Concurrent sexual partnerships
  • Gay men
  • Men who have sex with men
  • HIV
  • Sexually transmitted infections