York Study Reveals: Smoking More Prevalent Among HIV Positive Individuals

Women are more likely to use tobacco products which are not meant for smoking, such as snuff or chewing.


Scientists from the University of York Have published a research with results that showed that tobacco use is more prevalent among individuals who are HIV positive as opposed to those two tested negative.

The study was published in The Lancet Global Health and it aims to highlight the dangers of tobacco use in HIV-positive individuals. This is particularly important, especially after another recent research that showed how young people, who have tested to be HIV positive and are given HIV drugs, have an almost normal life expectancy. This is due to the advances of science and improved treatments for this illness.

With the newest progress in HIV treatment, it is common for HIV patients to have a shorter lifespan of just five years. However, the HIV coupled with tobacco use results in shortening of life for as much as 12 years. This clearly indicates that the tobacco use is killing more people than the actual HIV disease.

The study from the University of York showed that, when it comes to middle and low-income countries, especially in Africa, 41% of HIV positive men and 36% of HIV positive women are more likely to use tobacco products. This is in comparison to HIV negative study subjects.

The researchers did find a significant difference in tobacco use itself when it comes to men and women, where women are more likely to use tobacco products which are not meant for smoking, such as snuff or chewing.

According to Dr Noreen Mdege, from the Department of Health Sciences, even higher income countries follow the ‘trend’ of a higher percent of tobacco use with HIV positive individuals.

She said that their ‘’findings confirm that this trend is the same for low and middle-income countries, where the burden of HIV and tobacco-related illnesses is greatest.’’

The reasons for a significantly higher use of tobacco in HIV patients are still unknown and will require more in-depth research to get those answers.

As a point of reference for future studies, she notes how a couple of factors would need to be included in future research, such as alcohol and different drugs use along with tobacco, and also depression and other mental illnesses that accompany the HIV diagnoses.