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Sexual mixing in opposite-sex partnerships in Britain and its implications for STI risk: findings from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3)

Geary, RS; Copas, AJ; Sonnenberg, P; Tanton, C; King, E; Jones, KG; Trifonova, V; ... Mercer, CH; + view all (2018) Sexual mixing in opposite-sex partnerships in Britain and its implications for STI risk: findings from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3). International Journal of Epidemiology , Article dyy237. 10.1093/ije/dyy237. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: The extent to which individuals are similar to their sexual partners influences STI-transmission probabilities, yet there is a dearth of empirical data, especially those representative of the population. Methods: Analyses of data reported by 10 759 sexually active people aged 16-74 y interviewed for a British national probability survey undertaken in 2010-12. Computer-assisted self-interviews asked about partner numbers and characteristics of participants' three most recent partnerships (MRPs). Opposite-sex MRPs were weighted to represent all such partnerships in the past year (N = 16 451). Estimates of disassortative age mixing (≥±5-y difference), ethnic mixing (partner of a different ethnic group) and geographical mixing (partner from a different region/country when they first met) were calculated, stratified by gender, age group and partnership status (casual/steady). Multivariable regression examined how these disassortative mixing measures were associated with STI-risk measures: condom use at first sex together at the partnership-level and, at the participant-level, STI-risk perception and reporting STI diagnoses. Results: Disassortative age mixing occurred in around one-third of opposite-sex partnerships, with men ≥5 y older in most cases, although this proportion varied by participant's gender and age group. Ethnic mixing occurred less frequently (11.3% of men's and 8.6% of women's partnerships) as did geographical mixing (14.1 and 16.3%, respectively). Disassortative mixing was more common among casual vs steady partnerships. Condom use at first sex was less likely in women's partnerships that were age-disassortative [adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 0.79, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.69-0.95], whereas men reporting disassortative ethnic mixing were more likely to perceive themselves at STI risk (AOR: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.23-2.52) and report STI diagnoses (AOR: 2.37, 95% CI: 1.22-4.59). Conclusions: Disassortative mixing, although uncommon among opposite-sex partnerships in Britain, is independently associated with STI risk, warranting consideration in STI-prevention efforts.

Type: Article
Title: Sexual mixing in opposite-sex partnerships in Britain and its implications for STI risk: findings from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3)
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyy237
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyy237
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Sexual behaviour, heterosexual, sexual mixing, assortative mixing, disassortative mixing, sexual partners, sexually transmitted infection, survey, population
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10064538
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