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Poz and still smoking? You might wanna rethink that #HIV #AIDS

Poz and still smoking? You might wanna rethink that #HIV #AIDS

The problems associated with smoking are legion, but if you’re HIV positive it takes on a whole new dimension:

A number of studies have shown that HIV-positive individuals are more likely to smoke than their HIV-negative peers. Illnesses that are potentially related to smoking, such as cardiovascular disease and cancers, are being seen with increased frequency in HIV-positive patients. The role of smoking and other potentially modifiable risk factors is currently unclear.

Investigators from Denmark therefore designed a study to evaluate the effect of smoking on mortality among patients with HIV. They also compared the risk of death and loss of life-years associated with smoking with the risk associated with HIV-related factors.

The study population involved 2921 adults who received HIV care between 1995 and 2010. Injecting drug users were excluded from participation. The HIV-infected patients were matched with 10,642 controls.

Both the patients and the controls were followed for a median of four years.

Among HIV-positive patients, 47% were current smokers, 18% were former smokers and 35% had never smoked. The corresponding rates for the controls were 21%, 33% and 47%.

The excess mortality rate for HIV-positive current smokers (compared to HIV-positive patients who had never smoked) was 18 per 1000 patient years. The corresponding rate for the HIV-negative controls was 5 per 1000 patient years.

The risk of non-HIV-related death was five-fold higher for current smokers compared to HIV-infected patients who had never smoked. HIV-positive patients who were current smokers also had a four-fold increase in their risk of all-cause mortality.

The risk of death due to cardiovascular disease was approximately two times higher for HIV-positive current smokers compared to HIV-positive non-smokers. Current smokers were also three times more likely to die of cancer.

Smoking had a significant impact on the life expectancy of HIV-positive patients.

The authors calculated that 35-year-old non-smokers had a life expectancy of 78 years. This compared to a life expectancy of 69 years for former smokers, and a life expectancy of just 63 years for current smokers.

“Our finding of lower mortality among previous compared to current smokers emphasizes the importance of counseling HIV patients on smoking cessation,” comment the researchers.

They calculated that the HIV-positive patients lost five years of life expectancy due to their HIV infection and that twelve life years were lost because of smoking.

“The loss of life-years associated with smoking was larger than that associated with HIV,” write the investigators. “HIV-infected smokers with long-term engagement in care lose more life-years to smoking than HIV.”

Depending on where you live, you might have a free stop smoking program available in your state

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