Smokers May Have Link to Higher Risk of HIV
Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of death and illness among Americans. Every year, roughly 430,000 Americans die from illnesses caused by tobacco use, accounting for one fifth of all deaths. Tobacco use costs the nation about $100 billion each year in direct medical expense and lost productivity.
About 25% of all American adults (46.3 million people) smoke. This number has remained constant for several years despite government efforts through Healthy People 2000 and Healthy People 2010 to lower those percentages. Slightly more men (28.1%) smoke than women (23.5%). Hispanics (20.4%) smoke less than whites (25.3%) or African Americans (26.7%).
Both lung cancer and emphysema would become quite rare if people would stop smoking. Compared to a nonsmoker, a smoker faces these risks:
- 14 times greater risk of dying from cancer of the lung, throat, or mouth
- 4 times greater risk of dying from cancer of the esophagus
- 2 times greater risk of dying from a heart attack
- 2 times greater risk of dying from cancer of the bladder
Use of other tobacco products such as pipes, cigars, and snuff is less common, comprising less than 10% of use of all tobacco products; however, the health effects of these products are similar to those of tobacco—particularly their association with cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus.
Increasing attention has been devoted to publicizing the dangers of second-hand (environmental) smoke, the association between tobacco marketing and initiation of smoking among youth, and the development of strategies and medications to help smokers quit. Cigarette smoking has been linked strongly to the following illnesses:
- Heart disease
- Other diseases of blood vessels (such as poor circulation in the legs)
- Respiratory illness, including the following:
- Lung cancer
- Cancers, including:
- Lip or mouth
- Pharynx or larynx (voice box)
- Esophagus (food pipe)
- Urinary bladder
- Peptic ulcer disease
A new research shown that smoking, already linked to several illnesses, may also increase the risk of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, researchers said on Thursday.
In a review of studies that looked at the association between smoking and HIV, British doctors said five of the six studies they analysed showed smokers had a higher chance of becoming infected.
Nine of 10 other studies in the review that tracked the progression from HIV to AIDS found no link with smoking.
"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," said Dr Andrew Furber, of the South East Sheffield Primary Care Trust.
Furber and his colleagues, who reported the findings in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, said tobacco smoke may increase susceptibility to HIV infection by modifying a variety of immune system responses.
Research has shown that smoking is a leading cause of preventable death. It increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, respiratory problems, lung and other types of cancer.
The researchers suggest in the study that public health measures that encourage smokers to quit could also improve the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS prevention programmes.
About 40 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. Nearly 5 million were newly infected in 2005 and more than 3 million adults and children died of AIDS in the same year.
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