November 15, 2006
The researchers studied a group of out-of-treatment, drug-involved young adult couples to examine the association between individual and partnership characteristics with condom use, sexual concurrency and discordance in perceptions of monogamy. Their goal was "to gain a better understanding of how discordance in monogamy beliefs may influence HIV/sexually transmitted infection risk."
Participants in the study were 94 predominantly black heavy alcohol and/or drug users and their steady partners. The participants were recruited through a street outreach in Durham, N.C., and a methadone clinic in Raleigh, N.C.
The researchers found one-third of participants were wrong about their partners' monogamy intentions. A greater lifetime number of substances, longer relationships and relationship conflict weekly or more were associated with inconsistent condom use. Discordant monogamy beliefs were associated with consistent condom use.
"Many individuals misperceive their partners' monogamy intentions, although this misperception may be reflective of greater HIV/sexually transmitted infection protection," the authors concluded. "Interventions for couples should focus on strategies appropriate for committed long-term relationships, including increasing awareness of partner risk behavior, negotiating safety, and conflict resolution skills."