Sexual partnership types as determinant of HIV risk in South African MSM: an event-level cluster analysis

AIDS Behav. 2013 May;17 Suppl 1(0 1):S23-32. doi: 10.1007/s10461-012-0294-y.


While individual determinants of HIV risk among MSM have been widely studied, there is limited understanding of how relational characteristics determine sexual risk. Based on data collected among 300 South African men who have sex with men (MSM) and using cluster analysis, this study developed a typology of four partnership types: the "Race-Economic Similar," "Age-Race-Economic Discordant," "Non-regular Neighbourhood," and "Familiar" partnership types. Support for the meaningfulness of these types was found through associations of these partnership types with participant characteristics and characteristics of the last anal sex event. Furthermore, in a multivariate analysis, only partnership type independently predicted whether the last anal sex event was unprotected. Findings of the study illustrate the importance of taking into account the relational context in understanding unprotected sexual practices and present ways to target intervention efforts as well as identify relationship specific determinants of unprotected sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Age Factors
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Ethnic Groups
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Homosexuality, Male / ethnology
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Partners / classification*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • South Africa
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult