STD Risk and Your Partner's Concurrent Partners

Bill Weintraub

Bill Weintraub

STD Risk and Your Partner's Concurrent Partners


STD Risk Associated with Partner Having Other Partners and Lack of Awareness of Partner's Partners

A person's risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (STD) has been empirically associated with having concurrent sexual partners (individual's concurrency) and, in theory, with their partner having concurrent partners (partner's concurrency).

In a new study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, researchers assessed the relationship of STDs to individual's concurrency, the partner's concurrency, and knowledge of the partner's concurrency. The authors recruited 192 individuals ages 18-30 from STD and family planning clinics in 96 partner dyads that reported initial sexual contact during the previous three months. Study participants underwent computer interviews and testing for Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Individuals' self-reports of concurrency and their perception of their partner's concurrency were compared.

Just 26 percent of individuals whose partners had other partners knew of this concurrency. In multivariate models, STD in individuals was independently associated with partners' concurrency; not knowing of a partner's concurrency; incorrectly believing a partner to have concurrent partners when the partner did not; sexual contact within one week of acquaintance, but not with individuals' concurrency; and living in south San Diego.

The study demonstrates that STD is associated with partner's concurrency and with lack of awareness of partner's behavior, the researchers concluded.

[Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 7/04]

[emphasis mine]

Bill Weintraub:


There's no such thing as safe promiscuity.

It's an oxymoron.

If you think it exists, you're living in a fool's paradise.

Pathogens don't live there -- they live in the real world.

And it's what you don't know that'll get you every time.

Furthermore, there's a cumulative effect.

No matter how safe you think you're being, the more partners you have, the more likely you are to be exposed to a pathogen and contract a disease.

FIDELITY -- being in a sexually-exclusive LTR; or, if you're bi / married, gender monogamy -- one partner of each gender, and one partner only -- protects you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

That's why we say:

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