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July 29, 2014

CDC Campaign Wants HIV-Positive Smokers to Quit

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has combined the efforts of its tobacco and HIV divisions to focus on getting HIV-positive smokers to quit, according to a new release from the government organization.

The CDC’s existing “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign will now help spread the news about the synergistic bad effects of smoking cigarettes while living with HIV. The new ads feature Brian, an HIV-positive gay man who suffered a stroke because of complications from smoking.

The campaign also highlights several recent studies showing that HIV-related inflammation already puts people at risk for many of the same health problems as smoking, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke. So, when a person has HIV and also puffs cigarettes, these negative effects are magnified far beyond the risks of an HIV-negative person who smokes. Research also shows that HIV-positive smokers may be more likely to develop HIV-related infections such as thrush and pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP).

The CDC is currently hosting a series of webinars on the topic with grantees from both its HIV and tobacco departments. The organization is also running a series of print and digital ads featuring Brian and his new educational tips video, which you can watch here. In addition, the American Academy of HIV Medicine will be publishing articles and informational posters related to the campaign.

Estimates from 2009 suggest that 42 percent of HIV-positive people smoke, compared with about 20 percent of the general U.S. population. The CDC urges anyone interested in quitting to talk to their doctors or call the 1-800-QUITNOW helpline, which was recently re-vamped for both LGBT and HIV cultural competency.

Search: CDC, smoking, HIV, tips from former smokers, quit

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