Tobacco and HIV
woman sitting on cement steps smoking

Those who choose to smoke tobacco do so knowing that they are exposing their bodies to numerous health risks. For individuals living with HIV, the risks associated with tobacco use are even greater.

Through HIV research activities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that people living with HIV give up tobacco use in order to avoid infection and diseases that may occur with long-term use.  If you smoke and are living with HIV, these are some of the health complications you may face.

Impacts of Tobacco on People Living with HIV

If you smoke and are living with HIV, it is important that you are aware of the infections and diseases that you are most susceptible to. Research has shown that as many as one in five people who smoke and are living with HIV will get cancer in their lifetime. Although cancer is one of the more severe diagnoses, there are others that may also seriously impact your life. These include:

  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Pneumocystis pneumonia (severe lung infection)
  • Thrush or oral candidiasis
  • Hairy Leukoplakia (painful white mouth sores)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Brain, esophageal, anal, prostate and cervical cancer

Smoking Is Not in Control of Your Life, You Are.

When you stop smoking, your body will begin to self-heal by cleaning out excess carbon monoxide, which allows your oxygen levels to regulate. Your risk of infection and disease will decrease after just one month of being smoke-free. HIV research activities have shown that within a year, your lungs’ blood circulation and nerve endings will heal enough to improve your body’s ability to breathe, process medications and be physically active. When you choose to quit smoking tobacco, you choose to live a longer, healthier life.


At Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania, we can provide you with the support and resources you need to take control of your health. Contact us today to learn more.


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