Background. Understanding the epidemiology of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) requires knowledge of sexual behavior, but self-reported behavior has limitations. We explored the reliability and validity of nonpaternity and half-siblings ratios as biomarkers of current and past extramarital sex. Methods. An individual-based Monte Carlo simulation model was constructed to describe partnering and conception in human populations with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The model was parameterized with representative biological, behavioral, and demographic data. Results. Nonpaternity and half-siblings ratios were strongly correlated with extramarital sex, with Pearson correlation coefficients (PCC) of 0.79 (95% CI: 0.71-0.86) and 0.77 (0.68-0.84), respectively. Age-specific nonpaternity ratios correlated with past extramarital sex at time of conception for different scenarios: for example, PCC, after smoothing by moving averages, was 0.75 (0.52-0.89) in a scenario of steadily decreasing nonmarital sex and 0.39 (0.01-0.73) in a scenario of transient drops in nonmarital sex. Simulations assuming self-reported levels of extramarital sex from Kenya yielded nonpaternity levels lower than global nonpaternity data, suggesting sizable underreporting of extramarital sex. Conclusions. Nonpaternity and half-siblings ratios are useful objective measures of extramarital sex that avoid limitations in self-reported sexual behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)