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Quitting Smoking can Reduce Risk of Pneumonia in HIV-Infected People

Update Date: Jan 22, 2013 03:34 AM EST

For people who are HIV positive, bacterial pneumonia is a common threat and critical at the same time. A recent study suggests that smokers who were HIV positive had 50 percent more chances of getting the infection than those HIV-positive individuals who did not smoke. It was also observed that when the former group of people quit smoking, the same risk was considerably reduced.

The research was headed by Prof Paul Aveyard, from University of Oxford and the result of the research was published in BMC medicine, the open access journal of BioMed.

A metanalysis was done on the volunteers with HIV and researchers used the database of several thousand people participating in 14 studies in the U.S.A., Europe and South Africa. It was found that smokers with HIV had between a 70 and 100 percent higher risk of contracting bacterial pneumonia than their non-smoking counterparts. The study did not include CD4 count, which is the helper T cells in the body immune system, and the antiretroviral therapy used in the control of HIV.

"Antiretroviral treatment means that people with HIV can have a normal life expectancy. However, they still have substantially increased health risks compared to the general population, including risk of pneumonia. Our results show that smokers with HIV have twice the risk of bacterial pneumonia, but that stopping smoking can reduce this risk. In order to prevent this potentially life threatening lung disease we believe that smoking cessation should be promoted as part of HIV treatment," Prof Aveyard was quoted as saying in Medical Xpress.

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