Tag Archives: October

STOPTOBER: HIV & Smoking, why you should quit, and available help.


In case you haven’t seen it yet, (or you have and you’re ignoring it) it’s “Stoptober” in 6 days’ time.  Why is that important?

According to Aidsmap, the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases reported that smoking has had a bigger impact on the prognosis of HIV-positive patients than HIV-related factors.  In a survey of 2,921 HIV-positive adults, the authors calculated that a non-smoker aged 35 had a life expectancy of 78 years.  This compared to a life expectancy of 69 for former smokers, and a life expectancy of just 63 for current smokers.

The risk of non-HIV-related death was five-times higher for current smokers compared to HIV patients who had never smoked.  HIV patients who were current smokers also had a four-fold increase in their risk of all-cause mortality.  Previous studies have shown that HIV-positive individuals are more likely to smoke than their HIV-negative peers.

According to the British Heart Foundation, over a third of gay men in the UK smoke, compared with the national average of 21%.  The authors of the Danish research believe their findings have important implications for HIV care, showing the importance of smoking cessation counselling and support.

“The loss of life-years associated with smoking was larger than that associated with HIV,” said the study. “HIV-infected smokers with long-term engagement in care lose more life-years to smoking than HIV.”

Illnesses that are potentially related to smoking, such as cardiovascular disease and cancers, are being seen with increased frequency in those living with the virus.

Quitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for all tobacco users, including those living with HIV/AIDS. Quitting smoking decreases your risk of lung cancer and other cancers, heart disease, COPD, and stroke.  Smokers with HIV also experience a decrease in HIV-related symptoms and an improved quality of life after quitting.

Smoking weakens the immune system. It can make it harder to fight off HIV-related infections. This is especially true for infections related to the lungs. This is a risk for smoking cannabis as well as tobacco. Having HIV increases the risk of chronic lung disease and smoking can interfere with processing of medications by the liver. It can also worsen liver problems like hepatitis.

People with HIV who smoke are more likely to suffer complications from HIV medication than those who don’t. For example, those who smoke are more likely to experience nausea and vomiting from taking HIV medications.

Smoking increases the risk of some long-term side effects of HIV disease and treatment. These include osteoporosis (weak bones that can lead to fractures, more information here) and osteonecrosis (bone death, more information here.) HIV treatment slightly increases the risk of heart attack, but smoking is the major controllable risk factor for heart attacks or strokes.

Recent studies found that quitting smoking reduced heart attack risk in HIV patients more than other factors such as changes in medications.

Smoking and Opportunistic Infections

People living with HIV who also smoke are more likely to develop several opportunistic infections related to HIV. They are more likely to develop:

For women, smoking can increase the risk and severity of infection with human papilloma virus, this increases the risk of cervical disease.

Recently, the bacteria that cause Mycobacterium Avium Complex were linked to smoking. They were found in tobacco, cigarette paper and filters even after they had been burned.

More information on these studies are available at the Journal, Clinical Infection Diseases

Are you still reading? – Good, we hope this information hasn’t scared you off! – If you’re a smoker, you should know that help is at hand.  If you’re not a smoker and know someone who is, whether they’re HIV positive or not, your support can go a long way to helping someone quit, and that’s where “Stoptober” comes in.

Stoptober is a NHS initiative to encourage smokers to take up a stop smoking challenge for 28 days, in the month of October.  People joining the campaign are able to receive support from a Stoptober pack, an online and smartphone app and a 28 day text support service.

Research shows those who stop smoking for 28 days are 5 times more likely to stay smokefree.  Stoptober will lend a hand to help smokers achieve this goal.

To get your free Stoptober pack, visit https://stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk/ and register.  They also have a Facebook page and Twitter account you can follow along with smartphone apps which offer practical support, encouragement and personalised advice in the palm of your hand, throughout the 28 days, helping you every step of the way.

They feature

  • Daily support messages to help to motivate you
  • Record a motivation. This lets you take a picture, video or capture audio to remind you why you’re giving up
  • “Stoptober Me” function which allows you to take and share a picture of yourself with the famous Stoptober wheel
  • Badges to reward your progress
  • A help button with crave-busting tips and content to distract you
  • A shareable progress indicator so friends can see how you’re doing
  • A savings calculator so you can see how much money you’re saving
  • Success tips – tried and tested ways to help you

Check it out, available for Android and iOS

You can also chat an adviser online or if you prefer the retro route, you can call them on 0800 022 4 332 between 9am – 8pm.

There’s also a wealth of information and support available online too, just google “Stop Smoking” or visit some of these links, remember to come back and let us know how you’re doing in the comments below!

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October Round Up

It’s time for another roundup, and what a roundup it is, all 23,000 words of it! we hope you’ve got some reading time set aside.  Here are the posts from October wrapped up together in case you’ve missed anything.  Or if you prefer, you can download the whole lot as a pdf for your viewing leisure off line.

Have you subscribed yet? Or would you prefer to follow @LASSLeics on Twitter to get your info? Either is a good way to stay up to date about LASS and HIV news from Leicester, Nationally and International.

You may just be a casual browser here for the first time? – Stay a while, soak it in or dive in to a random post at your leisure.

Poverty-Stricken Families Join a Lengthening Queue for Food Handouts

Fancy a Curry? – Join Us For Social Evening At The Cuisine Of India Restaurant

HIV Could Spread If Birth Control Injections Increase, Warn Scientists

The Red Ribbon Dress 2011/2012 Project

Commonwealth Publication Raises Concerns Over Rights of HIV and AIDS Carers

A Message of Hope for a HIV Cure from Timothy Brown

HIV and AIDS Stigma Defies Traditional Care in the Pacific

AIDS Treatment is Good Value for Money, Says New Study

Steve Jobs and HIV Apps for iOS

THT Asks Government to Legalise and Regulate HIV Home Testing Kits

UKBA proposals to deny entry or stay to migrants with NHS debt: a public health disaster waiting to happen

Questions on Tactics to Prevent HIV [PrEP]

Gonorrhea Possibly Becoming ‘Untreatable’

Increase In Life Expectancy for People Living With HIV

HIV and TB activist Winstone Zulu has Died

How Good is Sex Education in Schools?

Dating, HIV & You

Discussions with a Dietitian: Sugary Foods

Testing people with conditions suggesting HIV could pick up more recent infections, Europe-wide study finds

New MSM Panel report from Sigma Research

Blind Faith: HIV Prayer Cure Claims Three Deaths

Pill Box Organisers Increase HIV Patients’ Adherence & Improve Viral Suppression

Antiretroviral Drugs Work – This Is Why You Should Take Them!

People Get HIV Through Unprotected Sex, Not Because They’re Going For Fish Pedicures!

Pill-Popping Reminder App for iOS!

What Can We Do Now to Speed Up HIV Cure Research?

New HIV Diagnoses – UK National Overview 2001 – 2010

What About HIV? – Infographic

Gaddafi’s HIV Shakedown

Vote for Pozitude! The Website by Children Living With HIV

HIV Diagnosis Progress Hampered by Inaccurate Online Information

Preventing HIV with social media and mobile phones

Religion, HIV & Mental Health

Leicestershire Community Calendar 2012

Consultation To Start On Managing Urgent Care In Loughborough

LASS Secures Funding To Help Make The Big Society A Reality In The East Midlands.

Other Interesting Stuff We Didn’t Post But Want You To Know

Download all of this as a PDF.

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