Tobacco smoking is associated with adverse health effects among people living with HIV (PLWH), including a higher risk of cancer and cardiovascular problems. Further, there is evidence that PLWH are two to three times more likely to smoke than the general population. The aim of this study was to examine the association between tobacco smoking and biomarkers of HIV disease progression, including unsuppressed viral load (viral load >200 copies/mL) and low CD4 cell count (<200 cells/mm(3)). Recent tobacco smoking was reported by 40 % (n = 5942) of 14,713 PLWH enrolled in Ryan White Part A programs in the New York City metropolitan area. In multivariate analyses controlling for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, recent tobacco smoking was independently associated with unsuppressed viral load (AOR = 1.38, CI 1.26-1.50) and low CD4 cell count (AOR = 1.12, CI 1.01-1.24). Findings suggest the importance of routine assessments of tobacco use in clinical care settings for PLWH.
Keywords: CD4 cell count; HIV; Tobacco smoking; Viral load.