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Smoking Kills More than HIV

It has long been recognized that smoking is one of the factors that can reduce life expectancy in the general population.

In people who are infected with HIV, the introduction of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) has reduced mortality related to the infection, although lifestyle factors may influence their survival. To examine these interactions, researchers from the Copenhagen University Hospital led by Marie Helleberg, MD looked into the risks of smoking in HIV-infected people receiving anti-retroviral therapy. They used data from the Danish HIV Cohort Study, a population-based nation-wide study that involved HIV patients treated at Danish HIV centers from 1995 to 2010. The study included almost 3,000 HIV-infected individuals aged 16 and above who were smokers, and other individuals (controls) enrolled in the prospective Copenhagen General Population Study.

The results showed that smokers with HIV had significantly higher mortality rates from all causes, including non-AIDS related deaths than HIV-positive patients who were non-smokers. More than 60% of deaths among HIV patients were associated with smoking. The researchers also noted that HIV-infected smokers lost more life-years to smoking than to HIV-related causes. Further analysis also showed that an average 35-year-old HIV-positive smoker had a median life expectancy of about 63 years, compared with 69 years for smokers who quit and 78 years for people who never smoked.

The study was recently published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases.



Smith, M. Smoking More Lethal than HIV. MedPage Today.


Posted in: Cigarette Smoking, News Briefs

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