Bad news for people with HIV who smoke: you’re losing twice as many years of your life by continuing your habit. And that’s not all. You’re also going to die at three times the rate of non-smokers with HIV….
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.
Marie Helleberg, MD, of Copenhagen University Hospital and colleagues estimated the effect of smoking on mortality, risk of death, and life expectancy, and the number of life years lost to smoking compared to years lost to HIV among nearly 3,000 HIV-infected patients treated in Denmark from 1995 to 2010. They also compared mortality associated with smoking between HIV patients and the country’s background population. Where HIV care is integrated and antiretroviral therapy is available at no cost, “more than 60 percent of deaths among HIV patients are associated with smoking,” rather than HIV, Dr. Helleberg said.
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.
Quitting smoking-along with increased exercise- are the two things people with HIV can do to extend their lives and overall health. I quit over three years ago. And yeah, it’s not easy. But it’s worth it.
So if you need a New Year’s resolution, it’s staring you right in the face. And if you need help, it’s readily available here.
- New York Life Expectancy Rises to Record 81 Years, Mayor Says (bloomberg.com)
- Clinicians Asked To Screen All Patients For HIV (dgsmith.org)
- A new treatment for AIDS? (bio230fall2010.wordpress.com)
- HIV Patients Hospitalized Less Since the Advent of Antiretrovirals (webpronews.com)
- Can You Keep HIV From Becoming AIDS? (everydayhealth.com)
- Living Longer With HIV (everydayhealth.com)