Impact of tobacco use on the development of opportunistic respiratory infections in HIV seropositive patients on antiretroviral therapy


Dr Maria Jose Miguez-Burbano, Division of Disease Prevention, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (D21), 1400 NW 10th Avenue, 6th floor, Miami, FL 33136, USA. Tel: 305 243 4072; Fax: 305 243 4687; E-mail:


The increased risk of developing lung diseases in cigarette smokers has been well recognized. The association between smoking and the risk of developing pulmonary infections in HIV-1-infected patients, however, which has not been established, was evaluated in the present study. Twenty-seven cases with lower respiratory infections (15 Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), 12 TB cases) were compared with 27 age, gender, socio-economic and HIV status-matched patients, without history of respiratory diseases. Medical history and physical examinations were obtained every 6 months. Blood was drawn for CD4 and viral load measurements. A substantial number of HIV+ smokers who developed PCP (one-third) had been on highly active retroviral therapy (HAART) for more than 6 months and prophylaxis had been discontinued. Multivariate analyses indicated that in HIV-infected people, after controlling for HIV status and antiretrovirals, cigarette smoking doubled the risk for developing PCP (p =0.01). Multivariate analyses demonstrated that long-term smoking also increased the risk (2×) of developing tuberculosis (p =0.04). Moreover, daily tobacco use seemed to attenuate by 40% the immune and virological response to antiretroviral therapies. These findings indicate that tobacco use significantly increases the risk of pulmonary diseases in HIV infected subjects and has a potential deleterious impact on antiretroviral treatment.