Emerging Issues in Today’s HIV Response: Debate 4—Concurrent Sexual Partnerships

On October 27, 2010, the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) co-hosted the fourth in a global series of debates on emerging issues in HIV prevention. In an era when development aid (in general and for HIV/AIDS in particular) is under pressure and the dynamics of the pandemic are constantly changing, it is imperative that governments, civil society organizations, and other partners have the best evidence and knowledge to maximize the effectiveness of development dollars and achieve results. The debate series was designed to advance discussion and begin to build consensus about contentious issues within the HIV community. The World Bank’s global video conferencing and web-based technologies allowed country teams in Africa and other partners from across the globe to participate in real time in the debate (15 to 20 videoconference sites were connected at any given point in time). Additional information about the debate series can be found at (this website contains the links to all proceedings, reports of previous debates, as well as links to download and watch some of the previous debates).

Debate 4 focused on the possible role of concurrent sexual partnerships in accelerating ongoing HIV transmission patterns. The debate was based on the following proposition: Concurrent sexual partnerships have been and remain a key driver of HIV epidemics in southern and eastern Africa, and interventions to this effect should receive the majority of prevention resources.