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The Dark Side of Hookups, “Friends With Benefits” and F— Buddies

The Dark Side of Hookups, “Friends With Benefits” and F— Buddies
Black Aids Institute | May 10, 2010

Concurrency. Outside of social science circles, this wonky word doesn’t have much meaning. But increasingly, scientists are taking a hard look at the connection between concurrent relationships and the spread of HIV (and other sexually transmitted infections) as they seek to understand rising HIV rates among Black Americans.

In plain English, partnership concurrency means having more than one relationship at the same time. Studies show that, for a number of reasons, including lower marriage rates, African Americans are more likely than people of other races to engage in overlapping liaisons.

Conditions in Black America provide the ideal incubator for HIV, since our high infection rate intersects with large numbers of concurrent relationships, along with condom usage too inconsistent to offer sufficient protection, given the widespread prevalence of the disease. That combination makes any unprotected sexual encounter for us particularly risky, even one–say, with a good friend–that may seem especially safe. (Read the full article)