HIV Patients in Care Lose More Years of Life to Smoking Than to HIV Infection

Article

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. 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 countrys 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, Helleberg says.

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 Helleberg and her team.  Continuing to smokeor starting the habitposes extra risks for patients with HIV. Patients who receive integrated care from a variety of healthcare professionals, including those who can help patients address lifestyle issues, can find support for decisions to stop smoking.

Related Videos
Jill Holdsworth, MS, CIC, FAPIC, CRCST, NREMT, CHL
Jill Holdsworth, MS, CIC, FAPIC, CRCSR, NREMT, CHL, and Katie Belski, BSHCA, CRCST, CHL, CIS
Baby visiting a pediatric facility  (Adobe Stock 448959249 by Rawpixel.com)
Antimicrobial Resistance (Adobe Stock unknown)
Anne Meneghetti, MD, speaking with Infection Control Today
Patient Safety: Infection Control Today's Trending Topic for March
Infection Control Today® (ICT®) talks with John Kimsey, vice president of processing optimization and customer success for Steris.
Picture at AORN’s International Surgical Conference & Expo 2024
Infection Control Today and Contagion are collaborating for Rare Disease Month.
Related Content