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Sex Transm Dis. 2009 Aug;36(8):465-72. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3181a31e4c.

Sexual networks are diverse and complex: prevalence of relationships bridging population subgroups in the Seattle Sex Survey.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029, USA.



To better understand how and how often individuals bridge demographic groups in their sex partnerships, and to describe the epidemiologic characteristics of bridging and associations with history of sexually transmitted infection (STI).


We describe the frequency of different hypothetical sexual bridging types among men and women aged 18 to 39 participating in a random digit dialing survey conducted in 2003 to 2004, and the associations of bridging behavior with risk factors for and self-reported history of STI.


Of the 1013 participants who described their 2 most recent sexual partnerships, 753 (74%), were classified as a bridge of some type. Education bridges were most prevalent (46%), followed by spatial (34%), age (29%), race (24%), and gender bridges (3%).


Sexual networks are diverse and complex, and there are multiple potential paths for infection flow.

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