Multiple Sexual Partnerships

Export Indicator

Percentage of women and men aged 15-49 who have had sexual intercourse with more than one partner in the last 12 months
What it measures

It measures progress in reducing the percentage of people who have higher-risk sex.


The spread of HIV largely depends upon unprotected sex among people with a high number of partnerships. Individuals who have multiple partners have a higher risk of HIV transmission than individuals who do not link into a wider sexual network.


Number of respondents aged 15–49 who have had sexual intercourse with more than one partner in the last 12 months


Number of all respondents aged 15–49


Numerator / Denominator

Method of measurement
Respondents’ sexual histories are obtained. Analysis of sexual history is used to determine whether the respondent has had more than one partner in the preceding 12 month period.
For further information on DHS/AIS methodology and survey instruments, visit
Measurement frequency

Every 3-5 years



15 years - 19 years

20 years - 24 years

25 years - 49 years




Strengths and weaknesses
This indicator gives a picture of levels of higher-risk sex. If people have only one sexual partner, the
change will be captured by changes in this indicator. However, if people simply decrease the number of
sexual partners they have, the indicator will not reflect a change, even though potentially this may have a
significant impact on the epidemic spread of HIV and may be counted a programme success. Additional
indicators may need to be selected to capture the reduction in multiple sexual partners in general.