Mathur, S., Wei, Y., Zhong, X., et al. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (January 2015), E-publication ahead of print.
This study examined a range of sexual partner characteristics associated with HIV acquisition among youth in rural Uganda, and assessed how these characteristics independently contribute to HIV acquisition. The authors analyzed the data from Rakai Community Cohort Study (RCCS), an annual survey in which participants aged 15–24 years from 50 communities were administered an interview and offered testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections. The authors analyzed four rounds of RCCS data collection (2005–2011) that provided the most detailed information on up to four sexual partners in the past year. After controlling for individual risk factors, the analysis showed that among the 1,969 male and 2,826 female participants, both reported having sex with non-marital partners. For young women the risk of HIV acquisition increased if their partner was a truck driver, drank alcohol before sex, and used condoms inconsistently. In young men, the risk increased with partners who were not enrolled in school and in partnerships where respondents were unable to assess their partner's HIV risk. The authors concluded that HIV prevention interventions need to take into account how to develop HIV risk and prevention messages for different types of partners. Since partner characteristics can influence HIV risk, young people need to learn how to negotiate and potentially influence the behaviors of their partners within the relationship.