A Project of the New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center. Partially funded by the National Library of Medicine
Fact Sheets can be downloaded from the Internet at http://www.aidsinfonet.org
AIDS InfoNet www.aidsinfonet.org
Fact Sheet Number 803
SMOKING AND HIV
IS SMOKING MORE
DANGEROUS FOR PEOPLE
People with HIV disease are more likely
to smoke than healthy people. Smoking
can interfere with normal lung function in
healthy people. In people with HIV,
smoking can make it more difficult to fight
off serious infections.
People with HIV disease are now living
longer. Smoking and related problems
can interfere with long term quality of life.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF
Smoking weakens the immune system.
It can make it harder to fight off HIV-
related infections. This is especially true
for infections related to the lungs. This
is a risk for smoking marijuana as well
as tobacco. Having HIV increases the
risk of chronic lung disease.
Smoking can interfere with processing
of medications by the liver. It can also
worsen liver problems like hepatitis.
Smoking and Side Effects
People with HIV who smoke are more
likely to suffer complications from HIV
medication than those who don’t. For
example, those who smoke are more
to experience nausea and
vomiting from taking HIV medications.
Smoking increases the risk of some long-
term side effects of HIV disease and
treatment. These include osteoporosis
(weak bones that can lead to fractures,
see fact sheet 557). HIV treatment slightly
increases the risk of heart attack, but
smoking is the major controllable risk
factor for heart attacks or strokes. Recent
that quitting smoking
reduced heart attack risk in HIV patients
more than other factors such as changes
People with HIV disease who smoke
are more likely to develop several
opportunistic infections (see fact sheet
500) related to HI