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Author Notes:

Corresponding author. scassels@geog.ucsb.edu

We would like to thank the study participants and the following for their invaluable assistance of this project: Kamil Fuseini, Fidelia Dake and the staff at the Regional Institute for Population Research at the University of Ghana, the Ghana AIDS Commission, our interview team: Vincent Kantah, Patrick Nyarko, Charlotte Ofori, Cecilia Segbedji, Maame Yaa Konamah Siaw, Bilaal Tackie, Habakkuk Tarezina, Solomon Tetteh, and Dr. William Ampofo and his laboratory staff at NMIMR: Prince Parbie and Joyce Appiah-Kubi.


Research Funding:

This work was supported in part by the NICHD (R00 HD057533) and an NICHD Research Infrastructure grant (R24 HD042828).


  • Science & Technology
  • Social Sciences
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
  • Social Sciences, Biomedical
  • Biomedical Social Sciences
  • HIV
  • STI
  • Sexual network
  • Partner concurrency
  • Circular migration

Geographic mobility and potential bridging for sexually transmitted infections in Agbogbloshie, Ghana


Journal Title:

Social Science and Medicine


Volume 184


, Pages 27-39

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Short-term mobility can significantly influence the spread of infectious disease. In order for mobile individuals to geographically spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs), individuals must engage in sexual acts with different partners in two places within a short time. In this study, we considered the potential of mobile individuals as bridge populations – individuals who link otherwise disconnected sexual networks and contributed to ongoing STI transmission. Using monthly retrospective panel data, we examined associations between short-term mobility and sexual partner concurrency in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. We also examined bridging by the location of sex acts and the location of sexual partners in concurrent triads, and whether mobile individuals from our sample were more likely to be members of geographic bridging triads. Although reported rates of sexual partnership concurrency were much higher for men compared to women, mobility was only associated with increased concurrency for women. Additionally, this association held for middle-distance mobility and short-duration trips for women. Taking into account the location of sex acts and the location of sexual partners, about 22% of men (21.7% and 22.4% for mobile and non-mobile men, respectively) and only 3% of women (1.4% and 3.3% for mobile and non-mobile women, respectively) were potential bridges for STIs over the last year. Our results highlight the gendered nature of mobility and sexual risk behavior, reflecting the normative social context that encourages women to conceal certain types of sexual behavior.

Copyright information:

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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