Having more than one relationship at a time, a practice termed ‘multiple and concurrent partnerships or MCP’ by social scientists, has been identified as one of the main drivers of HIV infection in the southern African region. The discourse on multiple and concurrent partners started at a SADC meeting held in Maseru, Lesotho, in 2006, says Soul City’s Senior Executive of Media Programmes, Lebo Ramafoko.
‘Following that meeting, Soul City with its partners in 10 countries conducted research and the findings were startling in their similarities. Multiple and concurrent partners is a widely accepted practice and yet it is the most risky in accelerating HIV’.
Ramafoko went on to explain what multiple and concurrent partnerships are.
‘The practice of having two or more partnerships that continue over the same period of time where you’ve got one leg in one relationship and another one in another relationship,’ she said.
Researchers say people in such relationships stand a higher risk of contracting HIV because, unlike in one-night stands, the longer the sexual relationship the greater the chance that people will stop using condoms, which can lead to the spread of HIV.
The Soul City series, ‘One Love’, which is currently showing on SABC TV’s Channel 1, tells the gripping tale of Zimele, a middle-class married man and father of two teenagers who starts an extra-marital affair with 19-year-old Lulu. At the same time, Lulu is involved with Zakes, a guy her own age. This is a typical story of sugar-daddy meets girl. The repercussions of this intricate web of relationships could be disastrous.