Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Concurrent sexual partnerships and the spread of HIV - ‘the evidence is limited’

by Roger Pebody, via Aidsmap

The theory that multiple, overlapping sexual partnerships are a key driver of generalised HIV epidemics in Africa has been attacked as being based on insubstantial evidence. The critics, writing in the journals AIDS and Behavior and The Lancet, argue that researchers lack a precise definition of concurrency or a standard way to measure it, and that the data do not show a significant association between concurrency and either HIV incidence or prevalence.

However this critique has stimulated a fierce debate in the United States. Proponents of the concurrency thesis argue that the critics’ analysis of the data is selective, that evidence from a wide range of sources supports the thesis, and that it would be irresponsible for prevention programmes in Africa to ignore this issue.

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