Smoking damages quality of life for people with HIV, says study

Graham McKerrow, HIV I-Base

Smokers in a San Francisco study of HIV-positive patients, report poorer health-related quality of life (HRQL) than non-smokers.

Smoking was associated with a range of problems including lower general health perception, physical functions, bodily pain and energy, according to the research by Dr Margaret Chesney and colleagues from the University of California at San Francisco. They collected data for 585 HIV-positive homosexual/bisexual men, injection drug users, and their female partners who participated in the multi-centre Pulmonary Complications of HIV Infection Study.

They made a cross-sectional assessment of HRQL using the Medical Outcomes Survey Scale adapted for patients with HIV. Multivariate analysis was used to determine the impact on HRQL of smoking, CD4 loss, AIDS diagnosis, number of symptoms, study site, education, injection drug use, sex and age.

In the December 2001 issue of AIDS Patient Care and STDs, the researchers write: “Current smoking was independently associated with lower scores for general health perception, physical functioning, bodily pain, energy, role functioning and cognitive functioning.

“We conclude that patients with HIV infection who smoke have poorer HRQL than non-smokers. These results support the use of smoking cessation strategies for HIV infected persons who smoke cigarettes.”


AIDS Patient Care and STDs 2001;15:615-624.

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