|Journal Article - Journal of the International AIDS Society
|Concurrent partnerships and HIV: an inconvenient truth
The strength of the evidence linking concurrency to HIV epidemic severity in southern and eastern Africa led the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the Southern African Development Community in 2006 to conclude that high rates of concurrent sexual partnerships, combined with low rates of male circumcision and infrequent condom use, are major drivers of the AIDS epidemic in southern Africa. In a recent article in the Journal of the International AIDS Society, Larry Sawers and Eileen Stillwaggon attempt to challenge the evidence for the importance of concurrency and call for an end to research on the topic. However, their "systematic review of the evidence" is not an accurate summary of the research on concurrent partnerships and HIV, and it contains factual errors concerning the measurement and mathematical modelling of concurrency.
Practical prevention-oriented research on concurrency is only just beginning. Most interventions to raise awareness about the risks of concurrency are less than two years old; few evaluations and no randomized-controlled trials of these programmes have been conducted. Determining whether these interventions can help people better assess their own risks and take steps to reduce them remains an important task for research. This kind of research is indeed the only way to obtain conclusive evidence on the role of concurrency, the programmes needed for effective prevention, the willingness of people to change behaviour, and the obstacles to change.
|Lesotho - Demographic and Health Survey 2009-2010, Lesotho
|Tanzania - Demographic and Health Survey 1996, Tanzania