December 20, 2012
A study by Dr. Marie Helleberg of Copenhagen University Hospital and colleagues showed that individuals with HIV infection who received proper care, but who were smokers, lose more years of life to smoking than to HIV. The researchers examined records of approximately 3,000 individuals with HIV who were treated in Denmark from 1995 to 2010. The patients had received good care and free access to antiretroviral therapy.
Results show that more than 60 percent of the patients' deaths were associated with smoking, rather than HIV. Also, there were significant differences in life expectancy between individuals with HIV who were smokers and those who were nonsmokers. For example, a 35-year-old smoker had a life expectancy of about 63 years, while a nonsmoker of the same age had a life expectancy of more than 78 years. The loss of years of life associated with smoking was double that associated with HIV, and the increased risk of death among persons with HIV who smoked was three times higher than that of persons who did not have HIV.
The researchers note that findings emphasize the importance of counseling persons with HIV about smoking cessation as smoking may have a greater impact on their life expectancy than the HIV infection.
The study, "Mortality Attributable to Smoking Among HIV-1Infected Individuals: A Nationwide, Population-Based Cohort Study," was published online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (2012; doi: 10.1093/cid/cis933).