Partner characteristics associated with HIV acquisition among youth in Rakai, Uganda

Sanyukta Mathur, Ying Wei, Xiaobo Zhong, Xiaoyu Song, Fred Nalugoda, Tom Lutalo, Maria Wawer, Ron Gray, David Serwadda, John S. Santelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: HIV risk is influenced by multiple factors including the behaviors and characteristics of sexual partners. We examined the association between partner characteristics and HIV acquisition among young people in rural Uganda, controlling for individual-level risk factors. Methods: We used self-reported data from 15- to 24-year-olds (n 1969 male participants and n 2826 female participants) from a population-based cohort (2005-2011) in Rakai, Uganda. Respondents could report characteristics for up to 4 sexual partners in the last year. Poisson regression was used to estimate HIV incidence rate ratios (IRRs). Results: In regression analyses controlling for marital status, young women's 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 of HIV acquisition increased with partners who were not enrolled in school, in partnerships with higher coital frequency, and in partnerships where respondents were unable to assess the HIV risk of their partner. Mixed-model regressions adjusting for respondent's individual-level risk factors showed that young women's risk of HIV acquisition increased with each nonmarital sexual partner [IRR: 1.54 (1.20 to 1.98)], each partner who drank alcohol before sex [IRR: 1.60 (1.11 to 2.32)], and each partner who used condoms inconsistently [IRR: 1.99 (1.33 to 2.98)]. Among young men, having nonmarital partnerships increased HIV acquisition [IRR for each partner: 1.54 (1.20 to 1.98)]. Implications: Partner characteristics predicted HIV acquisition among youth. HIV prevention programs should emphasize awareness of partner's risk characteristics to avoid high-risk relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • HIV acquisition
  • HIV risk
  • Uganda
  • partner characteristics
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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