Smoking May Independently Increase HIV Risk

Smoking may more than triple the risk of HIV infection, but not the progression to AIDS

FRIDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Cigarette smoking may increase the risk of HIV infection, but does not seem to affect the progression to AIDS, according to a review article first published online Aug. 21 in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Andrew Furber, M.D., of South East Sheffield Primary Care Trust in Sheffield, U.K., and colleagues searched 13 academic research databases, three abstract databases from recent international AIDS conferences and AIDS-related Web sites, and found six studies that assessed the association between cigarette smoking and HIV seroconversion. In addition, they found 10 studies that assessed the association between cigarette smoking and the progression to AIDS.

Five studies showed that cigarette smoking was an independent risk factor for HIV seroconversion, with adjusted odds ratios ranging from 1.6 to 3.5. They also found that nine studies showed that cigarette smoking was not a risk factor for progression to AIDS.

"There is a growing recognition that cigarette smoking increases the risk of infection, including sexually transmitted infections," the authors write. "The possible mechanisms for this include structural modification in the lung and immunological changes. The latter include both cellular and humoral alteration such as decreasing the level of circulating immunoglobulins, the depression of antibody responses, a decrease in CD4 lymphocyte counts, an increase in CD8 lymphocyte counts, depressed phagocyte activity and decreased release of proinflammatory cytokines."

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