Smoking cessation rates remain low after health care providers initiate a brief intervention meant to promote quitting smoking among their HIV-positive patients, aidsmap reports. That’s according to a pair of European studies that analyzed the effects of similar smoking-cessation interventions.

In an Italian study, specialists in smoking cessation trained HIV physicians at 10 hospitals to administer an intervention known as the 5As. In the intervention, clinicians ask their patients about their smoking habits, advise those who do smoke about the benefits of quitting and coordinate follow-up with services meant to buttress efforts to quit smoking. These health care providers were encouraged to provide this intervention multiple times.

Of the 1,087 HIV-positive patients of these health care providers, 561 smoked. At the two-year follow-up point, 561 (7.3%) had quit smoking for at least six months. The quit rates were higher among those deemed more ready to change their behavior and among people who received the intervention from their health care provider more than once.

In another study, conducted in London, experts in smoking cessation trained three nursing assistants at the HIV clinic of the Royal Free Hospital to provide their patients with an intervention similar to the 5As. However, unlike the 5As, this intervention included a greater emphasis on referring patients to services to help them quit smoking.

Of the 1,548 people attending the clinic who were asked about smoking, 385 did indeed smoke. While nearly all the smokers were referred to services to aid them in quitting, just 154 accepted the referral. Three months after receiving their referrals, 36 people used such services, 16 of whom quit smoking, for an overall quit rate of just 4%.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.

To read the Italian study abstract, click here.

To read the London study, click here.