Introduction: Cigarette smoking is extremely common among persons living with HIV (PLWH) in the United States, and it has emerged as a leading killer in this group. No tobacco treatment studied to date has demonstrated long-term efficacy.
Methods: This was a follow-up study of PLWH adult smokers who completed a randomized controlled trial of positively Smoke Free group therapy from 2014 to 2017. Participants from 2 of the 3 trial sites were recalled to complete a long-term follow-up assessment, at least one year after initial enrollment.
Results: Of the 342 candidates for this follow-up study, 11 had died before our attempts to contact them, and 194 of the remaining 331 (58.6%) completed the late follow-up assessment. Most (91.2%) of the remaining candidates could not be contacted despite numerous attempts. At a mean of 38.1 months after initial study enrollment, using an intention-to-treat, lost to follow-up = still smoking (worst case scenario) strategy, 12.7% of group therapy vs. 6.6% of control participants had biochemically verified 7-day point-prevalence abstinence, odds ratio = 2.06 (95% CI: 0.96-4.41), P = 0.06, and 10.3% of group therapy vs. 4.2% of control participants had biochemically verified 12-month point-prevalence abstinence, odds ratio = 2.61 (95% CI: 1.05-6.47, P = 0.03). Improvements in abstinence self-efficacy in the positively Smoke Free group observed in the original study were sustained through late follow-up.
Conclusions: Targeted group therapy for PLWH smokers was associated with increased cessation and sustained improvements in abstinence self-efficacy at a mean of more than 3 years of follow-up. This is the first trial to show long-term efficacy of tobacco treatment for PLWH.