Turning the spotlight on concurrency and HIV spread

23 September 2009 | Story by Newsroom

CODA bandKeeping it current: Coda (left) provided the music, while (below) Thandeka Qangule, Loyiso Gola, Irit Noble and DJ Suga talked the facts of sexual concurrency

Recent research suggests that sexual concurrency - sexual relationships that overlap in time - could be a major factor in the spread of HIV infections in Africa.

Following on a more formal presentation on the topic by the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication at UCT last month, HIV-AIDS Co-ordination - UCT (HAICU) hosted a more fun edutainment session on campus last week.

Here band Coda, presenter DJ Suga, stand-up comics Loyiso Gola and Irit Noble, and UCT AIDS Community Educator Thandeka Qangule took students through a light-hearted but informative introduction to the ABC's of concurrency.

discussion panel

Concurrency, they explained, is where a person has overlapping sexual partnerships over a one- or two-month period. This is risky for two reasons - an HIV-positive person is most infectious right at the start of the infection, and HIV antibody tests are less likely to pick up the HI virus over the two- to three-month window period immediately after infection.

Concurrency is particularly common among the 15-24 and 30-40 age groups, explained HAICU project manager Lucina Reddy. And for now, the 15-24 group remains the one most at risk.

The take-home message of the day? "Wrap it up," as Noble put it a few times.

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