by Tom Moore, Portland, OR
I never thought when I found out that I was HIV+ that my cigarette smoking would affect the virus. I knew that cigarettes caused cancer, but not that if would deteriorate my health along with the HIV.
I had been smoking since I was 16 and by 30, I was HIV+ and smoking. My HIV doctor told me that if I didn't quit after having PCP that it would continue to be one thing after another with my respiratory system.
Finally after a bout with respiratory distress, I finally made the leap and broke the habit. It was by no means easy. I'm sure my girlfriend would have liked to kick me out of the house. But I stuck to it.
Besides the benefits of general health, my viral load has decreased and my T-cells have increased since quitting. I urge anyone that is HIV+ to seriously think about quitting. Not only will it help with your counts, but you'll be able to do things you haven't done in years like jogging, long walks, etc.
Below are a couple of paragraphs about scientific findings on Nicotine and HIV. I wish you successful in quitting. Don't give up. You're worth it.
Smokers More Likely to Get Infected with HIV
- Heavy smoking has a negative impact on the immune response of the human body
A recent study found that HIV infection is more prevalent in smokers. Writing in the Sexually Transmitted Infections journal, the current study is a review of other previous reports on the link between HIV and smoking.
Five of six studies analyzed by British researchers concluded that regular smoking increases the risk for HIV, while other nine in ten studies also included in the investigation found no link between HIV infection and the bad habit.
The conclusion of the present review is that smoking increases one's chances of getting infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. However, they specified that even if smoking plays a certain role in acquiring HIV, it does not influence in any way AIDS and its progression and outcomes.
The studies identified in this systematic review indicate that while smoking might be independently associated with acquiring HIV infection, it does not appear to be related to progression to AIDS. This may be because the immune mechanisms that smoking affects are less relevant in progression to AIDS than in acquiring the infection in the first place.
The South East Sheffield also commented on the studies used for the investigation: "The consistency of the findings is striking and represents a major strength of this review. While the studies vary in quality, they include reports of high quality investigations using large sample sizes."
Researchers who were involved in the study explained that heavy smokers are more prone to acquiring HIV because nicotine, the main compound in tobacco, weakens our immune system response and makes it easier for diseases to invade our body. Besides the fact that it plays a key-role in respiratory problems, lung and other various forms of cancer, stroke, heart attack etc., smoking also modifies immune body responses.