WP 114 The Distribution of Sex Partners in the United States By Sexual Identity, 2002 and 2006-2010

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
International Ballroom
Laura Haderxhanaj, MPH, MS1, Harrell Chesson, PhD2, Sevgi Aral, PhD1 and Jami Leichliter, PhD1, 1Division of STD Prevention, CDC, Atlanta, GA, 2Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Background: Heterogeneity in sexual behavior is a key factor in sustaining STD transmission. Among those with opposite-sex partners, sexual behaviors are highly concentrated within sub-populations that are often at the highest risk for STDs. However, little is known about the distribution of behaviors by sexual identity.  

Methods: We used combined data from the 2002 to 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth. We examined sexual identity by demographics (age, race/ethnicity, income-poverty ratio, metropolitan residence, and education). We also analyzed the number of recent opposite-sex and same-sex partners (past 12 months) by sexual identity (heterosexual or /straight; homosexual, gay, or lesbian; bisexual) for females and males, separately. Data analyses included means tests and measures of distribution (e.g., Gini coefficients, which range from 0 [equality] to 1 [inequality]); 95% confidence intervals were used to examine significant differences.

Results: Sexual identity significantly varied by every demographic analyzed for females and males, except age for males. Among females, bisexual women reported a higher mean number of recent opposite-sex partners (1.58; 95%CI: 1.45, 1.71) than heterosexual women (1.07; 95%CI: 1.05, 1.10) but fewer same-sex partners (0.66; 95%CI: 0.56, 0.76) than homosexual women (1.19; 95%CI: 1.00, 1.38). Among males, homosexual men reported a higher mean number of recent partners (same-sex: 1.99; 95%CI: 1.65, 2.32) than heterosexual men (opposite-sex: 1.26; 95%CI: 1.23, 1.29) and bisexual men (opposite-sex: 0.99; 95%CI: 0.83, 1.14; same-sex: 0.66; 95%CI: 0.46, 0.87). Partnerships were more concentrated among homosexual and bisexual females (Gini = 0.46 for both) and males (Gini = 0.55 and 0.60, respectively) as compared to heterosexuals (Gini = 0.33 for females and 0.41 for males).

Conclusions: Sexual minorities report higher numbers of recent sex partners; however, fewer group members account for more of the partnerships. Therefore, interventions that target the most at-risk within a sub-population could have greater impact.