Volume 21 - Article 11 | Pages 289–340

Sexual behaviour patterns in South Africa and their association with the spread of HIV: insights from a mathematical model

By Leigh Johnson, Rob Dorrington, Debbie Bradshaw, Victoria Pillay-Van Wyk, Thomas Rehle

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Date received:18 Feb 2009
Date published:10 Sep 2009
Word count:11030
Keywords:HIV/AIDS, sexual behavior, simulation, South Africa
Additional files:21-11 Appendices (pdf file, 179 kB)
 21-11 SupplementaryData (Excel file, 247 kB)


This paper aims to quantify the effects of different types of sexual risk behaviour on the spread of HIV in South Africa. A mathematical model is developed to simulate changes in numbers of sexual partners, changes in marital status, changes in commercial sex activity and changes in the frequency of unprotected sex over the life course. This is extended to allow for the transmission of HIV, and the model is fitted to South African HIV prevalence data and sexual behaviour data. Results suggest that concurrent partnerships and other non-spousal partnerships are major drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa.

Author's Affiliation

Leigh Johnson - University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa [Email]
Rob Dorrington - University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa [Email]
Debbie Bradshaw - South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), South Africa [Email]
Victoria Pillay-Van Wyk - Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa [Email]
Thomas Rehle - Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa [Email]

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» Modelling the demographic impact of HIV/AIDS in South Africa and the likely impact of interventions
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