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Among adolescents and young adults, the extent that partner characteristics account for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in context of individual sexual activities and demographic characteristics is unclear.Sexual partner characteristics, individual sexual activities, and STD diagnosis were assessed among 15 to 24-year-old STD clinic attendees from 1999 to 2002 (n = 412). We used exact logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (OR) for several sexual partner characteristics (age discordance, incarceration, STD diagnosis, other partners, alcohol problem, marijuana problem, and a calculated composite variable) adjusting for demographics and individual sexual activities, including condom use.Sexual partner characteristics associated with STD diagnosis were ≥5 years age discordance [OR = 2.6 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.6, 4.5)] and STD in the past year [OR = 3.4 (95% CI = 2.0, 5.7)]. Even when considering individual sexual activities, composite partner risk was associated with STD diagnosis [intermediate to low OR = 2.1 (95% CI = 1.0, 4.2) and high to low OR = 3.4 (95% CI = 1.6, 7.0)]. Composite individual sexual activities was associated with STD diagnosis when considering demographics [intermediate to low OR = 1.8 (95% CI = 1.0, 3.2), high to low OR = 2.3 (95% CI = 1.2, 4.5)], but not when also considering partner characteristics [intermediate to low OR = 1.6 (95% CI = 0.9, 2.8), high to low OR = 1.8 (95% CI = 0.8, 3.9)].Among this sample of 15 to 24-year-olds, sexual partner characteristics identified individuals at increased risk of prevalent STDs and were more predictive of STDs than an individual's sexual activities.