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Smokers with HIV Infection More Likely to Die From Their Tobacco Use

Jun 05, 2017 06:08 AM EDT
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HIV patients who smoke were twice more likely to die from their tobacco use than the infection itself.
(Photo : Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

A new study from the University of York revealed that HIV patients who smoke were twice more likely to die from their tobacco use than the infection itself.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet Global Health, also showed that tobacco use is more common in people diagnosed with HIV than their HIV-negative counterparts.

"In high-income settings, the proportion of HIV-positive individuals who smoke has also been shown to be higher than among HIV-negative individuals of the same age and sex," said Dr. Noreen Mdege, from the University of York's Department of Health Services, in a press release. "Our findings confirm that this trend is the same for low and middle-income countries, where the burden of HIV and tobacco-related illnesses is greatest."

For the study, the researchers analyzed data taken from the Demographic and Health Surveys. The surveys were conducted in 28 low and middle income countries between 2003 and 2014.

The researchers observed that men diagnosed with HIV were 41 percent more likely to use tobacco products, while HIV-positive women were 36 percent more likely to use tobacco products, such as snuff, chewing tobacco and cigarettes. The researchers also found that HIV-patients who smoke lose about 12 years of their life. This is twice the number of years lost due to HIV.

HIV-positive men and women were more likely to smoke tobacco than their negative counterpart, about 46 percent and 90 percent, respectively. Interestingly, only 1.3 percent of HIV-positive women who use tobacco product prefer smoking. This is relatively lower than those HIV-positive men who preferred smoking, which is 24.4 percent.

Women diagnosed with HIV were more inclined to use smokeless tobacco products, such as snuff and chewing tobacco. The researchers noted that this trend was possibly caused by social or cultural norms. Women smokers are less socially accepted in low- or middle-income countries, while male smokers are more common. This could be the reason why there are more men who prefer smoking and female tobacco users are more inclined to try smokeless tobacco.

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