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According to a new study, HIV positive people who also smoke cigarettes experience a huge blow to their lifespan, more so than what the virus is able to give rise to. The study, which has been published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, states that the rate of cigarette smoking is double in HIV positive people compared to the general adult population in the U.S. The lifespan of infected people can be improved if they stop their smoking habits.

Dr. Krishna P. Reddy, the author of the current study, from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said that while medication for HIV is effective, other factors should also be considered in order to improve a patient’s general lifespan. Cigarette smoking highly increases the levels of risk for such people with regards to experiencing severe lung diseases, heart attacks, cancer, and other ailments.

For the purpose of the current research, a computer simulation was used of HIV disease and treatment. This was done for projecting the expectancy of life for HIV positive individuals and the status of their smoking. The results showed that the life expectancy of men and women having an HIV infection was reduced even if they stuck to their medication regime but smoked cigarettes. Smoking of cigarettes was found to reduce a person’s life expectancy by twice the amount that’s lowered by the HIV virus alone. The current research is of importance in the U.S. as it takes into account the increased rates of people not adhering to HIV regimens as well as the lower retention linked to care in the country. The results showed that cigarette smoking also had a similar effect in HIV positive men who didn’t adhered to their medication regimen in the U.S.

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The current study shows the exact level of negative health effects associated with cigarette smoking. An HIV positive person is more likely to lose his or her life due to a disease related to cigarette smoking, even if they take medications on time, rather than the virus.

Both women and men who entered care for HIV at the age of 40 but didn’t quit smoking lost around 6.3 and 6.7 years of their life, respectively. The total number of years lost are in comparison with individuals who are HIV positive but have never smoked. If these 40 years old quit smoking then their life expectancy was regaining by 4.6 to 5.7 years, respectively for women and men. Even individuals who quit smoking at the age of 60 were observed to have their life expectancy increased when compared to people who didn’t quit smoking. The results showed that for HIV positive people it’s never too late to stop smoking cigarettes.

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The current findings suggest that for health providers caring for individuals living with HIV, smoking needs to play a role in the kind of care such people are offered. Cigarette smoking for HIV sufferers should also be included in the current guidelines for treatment and care programs. Further research is required in order to better understand the strategies that can be implemented. The cessation of smoking should be a priority in HIV positive people for providing them with the medical care they need.