Study: Smoking diminishes response to anti-HIV drugs
Researchers at the University of Miami report in the journal Addiction Biology that smoking not only boosts the risk of developing pulmonary infections in HIV-positive adults but that it also weakens the body's response to anti-HIV medications. A study of 27 HIV-positive people with a history of lower respiratory infections, including Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and tuberculosis, and 27 HIV patients without a history of respiratory diseases showed that those who smoked suffered a median 40% decrease in immune and virologic responses to HIV antiretroviral medications as measured through drug levels in the body, T-cell counts, and HIV viral loads. HIV-positive smokers also were significantly more likely to develop PCP and were about twice as likely to contract tuberculosis as those who did not smoke. The researchers conclude that regular tobacco use can increase the risk of lung disease and can hamper the positive effects of HIV antiretroviral treatment for HIV-positive adults.