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J Int AIDS Soc. 2011 Mar 15;14:12. doi: 10.1186/1758-2652-14-12.

A decade of modelling research yields considerable evidence for the importance of concurrency: a response to Sawers and Stillwaggon.

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Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, WA 98195, USA.


In their recent article, Sawers and Stillwaggon critique the "concurrency hypothesis" on a number of grounds. In this commentary, I focus on one thread of their argument, pertaining to the evidence derived from modelling work. Their analysis focused on the foundational papers of Morris and Kretzschmar; here, I explore the research that has been conducted since then, which Sawers and Stillwaggon leave out of their review. I explain the methodological limitations that kept progress on the topic slow at first, and the various forms of methodological development that were pursued to overcome these. I then highlight recent modelling work that addresses the various limitations Sawers and Stillwaggon outline in their article. Collectively, this line of research provides considerable support for the modelling aspects of the concurrency hypothesis, and renders their critique of the literature incomplete and obsolete. It also makes clear that their call for "an end (or at least a moratorium) to research on sexual behaviour in Africa" that pertains to concurrency is unjustified.

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