December 19, 2012
HIV Patients In Care Lose More Years Of Life To Smoking Than To HIV Infection
Findings emphasize importance of patient counseling to stop smoking in integrated HIV care
Among HIV patients receiving well-organized care with free access to antiretroviral therapy, those who smoke lose more years of life to smoking than to HIV, according to a Danish study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and available online. The findings highlight the importance of smoking cessation efforts in the long-term, integrated care of patients infected with HIV.
Estimated life expectancy differed significantly based on smoking status. A 35-year-old HIV patient who currently smokes had a life expectancy of 62.6 years, compared to 78.4 years for a nonsmoker infected with HIV. The loss of years of life associated with smoking was twice as high as that associated with HIV among HIV-infected patients. In addition, researchers found the excess mortality of HIV-infected smokers to be three times higher than that of individuals not infected with HIV.
"Our findings emphasize the importance of counseling HIV patients on smoking cessation as smoking may impact their life expectancy considerably more than the HIV infection itself," the study authors wrote. The results also underscore the importance of prioritizing interventions for stopping smoking in HIV patient care and for the general population. Smokers who stop see their risk of cardiovascular disease drop rather quickly, but they remain at increased risk of cancer until several years after quitting.
The emphasis on well-organized HIV care is crucial, according to Dr. Helleberg and her team. Continuing to smoke–or starting the habit–poses extra risks for patients with HIV. Patients who receive integrated care from a variety of health care professionals, including those who can help patients address lifestyle issues, can find support for decisions to stop smoking.
On the Net: