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Men's Multiple Sexual Partnerships in 15 Sub-Saharan African Countries: Sociodemographic Patterns and Implications
Authors: Bingenheimer, Jeffrey B.
Source: Studies in Family Planning, 41(1): 1–17. DOI:
Topic(s): HIV/AIDS
Sexual behavior
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: MAR 2010
Abstract: Men's multiple sexual partnerships contribute to the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, but the social determinants of these relationships remain poorly understood. Prevailing wisdom suggests that men's institutionalized authority over women and their control of economic resources are key facilitators of multiple partnerships in this region. Men's exposure to or freedom from social control mechanisms embedded in family and village life may also play a role. This article provides insight into these issues by examining sociodemographic correlates of men's multiple sexual partnerships using data from recent Demographic and Health Surveys in 15 sub-Saharan African countries. The prevalence of self-reported multiple partnerships varies widely among countries. Sociodemographic patterns of such partnerships confirm the importance of men's control of economic resources and suggest that men's freedom from social control mechanisms may be more important than their authority over their wives.