Objectives: To investigate concurrent sexual partnerships among African Americans in North Carolina with recently reported heterosexually transmitted HIV infection.
Design: Population-based case series of persons with newly reported HIV infection.
Methods: Household interviews concerning sexual and other risk behaviors for HIV transmission were conducted among African Americans, 18-59 years old, who had been reported to the state health department within the preceding 6 months as having heterosexually acquired HIV infection. Dates of sexual partnerships were analyzed to identify concurrency among the 3 most recent partnerships.
Results: Concurrency prevalence in the past 1 and 5 years, respectively, was 45 and 63% for men and 37 and 58% for women. Most respondents (87%) believed that a recent partner had had a concurrent partnership. Multivariate analysis revealed associations between concurrency and male gender, youth, crack cocaine smoking, and incarceration of a sex partner.
Conclusions: Concurrent partnerships likely accelerate heterosexual HIV transmission among blacks in the rural southeastern United States. Future research should examine the socioeconomic context that supports this network pattern.