This paper is about sexual concurrency, or maintaining multiple sexual partnerships that overlap in time. Sexual concurrency is a concept that is used in the field of public health to explain the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Sexual concurrency has also been proposed as a site of intervention to reduce sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates, particularly among those populations who carry the heaviest STI burden: adolescents and African Americans. In this paper, we use ethnographic data collected from a group of African American adolescents living in Baltimore to examine the socially produced configurations of risks and relationships that are obscured by the term sexual concurrency. The data we present show the limits of this concept, and suggest that structural reforms, including improvements to education, drug treatment, and work opportunities, are necessary to reduce racial disparities in STI rates.


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pp. 758-777
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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