Smoking doubles the risk of death among people taking antiretrovirals (ARV) for HIV, aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in the journal AIDS, researchers analyzed data on 17,995 HIV-positive people from European and North American cohorts (excluding injection drug users) who started ARVs between 1996 and 2008 and about whom there was 79,760 person-years of follow-up information. Sixty percent of the participants were smokers.

The mortality rate among smokers and nonsmokers, factoring in deaths from all causes, was a respective 7.9 and 4.2 per 1,000 person-years.

Smokers were 1.94 times more likely to die than nonsmokers. Smokers were 6.28 times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease and 2.67 times more likely to die of non-AIDS cancers when compared with nonsmokers.

The researchers estimated that a 35-year-old man on successful HIV treatment could expect essentially a normal life expectancy when compared with the HIV-negative “background population” that served as a comparison in the study: Such HIV-positive men could expect to live to 78.5 years of age on average, compared with 79.4 years among the background population. If these HIV-positive men smoked, they could expect to lose 7.9 years off their life expectancy.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.