Background: In the United States, >40% of people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) smoke cigarettes.
Methods: We used a computer simulation of HIV disease and treatment to project the life expectancy of HIV-infected persons, based on smoking status. We used age- and sex-specific data on mortality, stratified by smoking status. The ratio of the non-AIDS-related mortality risk for current smokers versus that for never smokers was 2.8, and the ratio for former smokers versus never smokers was 1.0-1.8, depending on cessation age. Projected survival was based on smoking status, sex, and initial age. We also estimated the total potential life-years gained if a proportion of the approximately 248 000 HIV-infected US smokers quit smoking.
Results: Men and women entering HIV care at age 40 years (mean CD4+ T-cell count, 360 cells/µL) who continued to smoke lost 6.7 years and 6.3 years of life expectancy, respectively, compared with never smokers; those who quit smoking upon entering care regained 5.7 years and 4.6 years, respectively. Factors associated with greater benefits from smoking cessation included younger age, higher initial CD4+ T-cell count, and complete adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Smoking cessation by 10%-25% of HIV-infected smokers could save approximately 106 000-265 000 years of life.
Conclusions: HIV-infected US smokers aged 40 years lose >6 years of life expectancy from smoking, possibly outweighing the loss from HIV infection itself. Smoking cessation should become a priority in HIV treatment programs.
Keywords: HIV; United States; life expectancy; mathematical model; smoking; smoking cessation; tobacco.
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