The Prevalence of Syphilis Is Associated with the Prevalence of Male Point-Concurrency: An Ecological Analysis


Objective: The prevalence of syphilis differs considerably between different populations and indi-vidual level risk factors such as number of sex partners seem unable to completely explain these differences. The effect of network level factors, such as the prevalence of partner concurrency, on syphilis prevalence has not hitherto been investigated. Study design: Linear regression was per-formed to assess the relationship between the prevalence of male concurrency and prevalence of syphilis in each of 11 countries for which we could obtain comparable data. The data for concur-rency prevalence was taken from the WHO/Global Programme on AIDS (GPA) sexual behavioural surveys. Syphilis prevalence rates were obtained from antenatal syphilis serology surveys done in the same countries. In addition, we used linear regression to assess if there was a relationship between syphilis and concurrency prevalence of various racial and ethnic groups within the United States and South Africa. Results: In the international study, we found a strong relationship between the prevalence of male concurrency and syphilis prevalence (r = 0.79, P = 0.003). In the subnational studies, the relationship between concurrency and syphilis prevalence was positive in all cases but was only statistically significant so in the case of South Africa’s racial groups (r = 0.98, P = 0.01). Conclusions: The findings of an ecological-level association between syphilis and partner concurrency need to be replicated but suggest that efforts directed towards decreasing partner concurrency may reduce syphilis prevalence.

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Kenyon, C. and Osbak, K. (2015) The Prevalence of Syphilis Is Associated with the Prevalence of Male Point-Concurrency: An Ecological Analysis. World Journal of AIDS, 5, 131-139. doi: 10.4236/wja.2015.52016.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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