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Tips for HIV Clinicians Working with Tobacco Users

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Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. Smoking is responsible for nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths. Smoking causes immediate damage to the body, harms every organ system, and leads to disease and disability. For every smoking-related death, at least 30 Americans live with a smoking-related illness. 

The prevalence of smoking among people with HIV remains between 2- and 3-fold higher than that of the general population and this high prevalence has profound health implications. Research shows that the harmful effects of smoking are greatly magnified even when HIV appears to be under control through the use of antiretroviral medications. People with HIV who smoke may have less success with HIV drug therapy. 

They are more likely to:

  • Experience side effects of HIV medications
  • Have lower CD4 counts
  • Have a greater chance of developing opportunistic infections
  • See higher rates of HIV transmission among them

This 2-page fact sheet outlines the research related to people with HIV who smoke.

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