Background: Linkages between sexual networks influence STD and HIV epidemics.
Goal: This study quantifies male sexual "bridging" and associated factors in Cambodia's 1997 behavioral surveillance survey.
Study design: Among persons randomly selected from clusters of military, police, and motorcycle taxidrivers in five cities, associations between individual characteristics, behaviors, social context, and "active bridging" were tested using logistic regression analyses.
Results: The authors defined 20.5%, 15.7%, and 14.7% of military, police, and motorcycle taxidrivers as active bridgers (men who have unprotected sex with high and low risk partners). Among the military and police, logistic regression revealed that age (odds ratio [OR], 1.05), age of first sexual intercourse (OR, 0.89), having friends who frequent sex workers (OR, 3.31), and residence in the port city (OR, 3.34) were associated with active bridging. Among motorcycle taxidrivers, residence in the border city (OR, 2.23) or the port city (OR, 2.84) was associated with active bridging. Sexually transmitted disease symptoms during the past year were significantly associated with active bridging.
Conclusions: Social characteristics influence sexual bridging more than individual ones. The pervasiveness of bridging and the association with sexually transmitted disease symptoms underscore the potential of men who are active bridgers to spread sexually transmitted disease and HIV in Cambodia beyond high-risk groups.