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Drinking and Smoking and HIV

Sep 10, 2011

My husband is HIV positive and his CD4 count over a four year period is still only at 228. He drinks and smokes cigars and I was trying to find out if this causes his count to not continue to rise or if he should even be doing this. I don't feel that he should and feel that this is and could be affecting his health and his count. Thank you and have a wonderful day.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thanks for writing. You don't mention how much your husband is drinking but it is generally considered that one drink a day is not harmful to someone living with HIV. Excessive drinking (more than one drink per day), however, does indeed create complications including an increased risk of complications from opportunistic infections, an increased risk of HIV-related cognitive issues, increased stress on the liver, and an increased risk of medication nonadherence.

I don't know of any studies specific to cigars and HIV, but cigars in general carry an increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Should he decide to quit there are numerous supports out there, including Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery.

Good luck,


Atripla and Rush Poppers
Ankylosing Spondylitis and HIV

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