Helping people with HIV/AIDS quit smoking
Smoking cigarettes is dangerous for everyone, but for people with HIV, it puts them at a higher risk of the negative health effects of tobacco use and HIV-related infections. Even with this risk, the smoking rate among adults living with HIV/AIDS is two to three times higher than the general population.
Two-thirds of smokers living with HIV/AIDS want to quit smoking, according to AIDS.gov. In a study of nearly 5,500 people with HIV, researchers determined that smoking causes so much disease and death in the HIV community that healthcare providers should routinely make smoking cessation programs part of the HIV healthcare they provide.
Every year on December 1, World AIDS Day is an opportunity to increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education relating to HIV/AIDS. People around the world show support to the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS, by wearing a red ribbon or taking to social media, for example.
To show support all year round, Truth Initiative is the digital, research and community partner of Positively Smoke Free, a free web-based smoking cessation program for people living with HIV/AIDS that features a community of former smokers and current quitters.
Positively Smoke Free is an eight-session program. It includes interactive lessons that provide tips and tools to address the unique challenges of quitting smoking faced by HIV-positive smokers.
Studies have shown that the program increases the odds that HIV-positive smokers would quit successfully. A 2012 study found that participants in the program had nearly double the quit rate (19.2 percent) compared to those who received standard HIV healthcare (9.7 percent). In a 2014 study, 10 percent of program participants compared to 4.3 percent of standard care recipients quit smoking.