The Influence of Concurrent Partnerships on Network Structure and Transmission Dynamics

Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 11:00am - 11:50am
Keller 3-180
Martina Morris (University of Washington)
Concurrent partnerships are defined as partnerships that overlap in time, rather than obeying the norm of sequential monogamy. Concurrency changes the structure of a sexual partnership network, creating larger components and providing an ecology that favors the rapid spread of infectious pathogens. Simulation studies have demonstrated that concurrent partnerships can increase the speed and pervasiveness of spread in a population, even when the number of partnerships is held constant. Empirical studies have shown that concurrency is associated with higher levels of transmission. Thus, there is growing evidence that concurrency may play an important role in explaining the differentials in prevalence across population subgroups. This study uses three nationally representative data sets to identify the levels and variation of concurrency in the US, Thai, and Ugandan populations. Both the levels and the patterns of concurrent partnerships are very different in these populations. Simulation based on these patterns show transmission dynamics that replicate the observed variation in prevalence.