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Study: Increased HIV life expectancy linked to reduction in smoking

January 3, 2013

Much of the increased mortality seen in patients with HIV in the past decade – outside of antiviral drugs – can be attributed to a reduction in smoking, according to a study in Denmark.

According to Aidsmap, the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases reported that smoking has had a bigger impact on the prognosis of HIV-positive patients than HIV-related factors.

In a survey of 2,921 HIV-positive adults, the authors calculated that a non-smoker aged 35 had a life expectancy of 78 years.

This compared to a life expectancy of 69 for former smokers, and a life expectancy of just 63 for current smokers.

The risk of non-HIV-related death was five-times higher for current smokers compared to HIV patients who had never smoked.

HIV patients who were current smokers also had a four-fold increase in their risk of all-cause mortality.

Previous studies have shown that HIV-positive individuals are more likely to smoke than their HIV-negative peers.

According to the British Heart Foundation, over a third of gay men in the UK smoke, compared with the national average of 21%.

The authors of the Danish research believe their findings have important implications for HIV care, showing the importance of smoking cessation counselling and support.

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

Illnesses that are potentially related to smoking, such as cardiovascular disease and cancers, are being seen with increased frequency in those living with the virus.

More: Aidsmap, Bisexual men, British Heart Foundation, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Denmark, denmark, Europe, gay men, HIV, HIV-positive, non-smokers, smokers, smoking

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