, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 824-835
Date: 07 Sep 2008

Smoking Among HIV Positive New Yorkers: Prevalence, Frequency, and Opportunities for Cessation

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Abstract

Tobacco use presents unique health risks for persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). There is an urgent need to characterize tobacco use among PLWHA, and to assess the capacity of HIV/AIDS service providers to deliver smoking cessation interventions. Questionnaires were administered to PLWHA in care in New York State (n = 1,094) and to State-funded HIV/AIDS service providers (n = 173) from 2005 to 2007. Current PLWHA smoking prevalence was 59%, three times the general population rate. Over 50% of current smokers were moderately or highly dependent on nicotine. Three-quarters of smokers indicated an interest in quitting, and 64% reported a least one quit attempt during the past year. Less than half of HIV/AIDS service providers reported always assessing tobacco use status, history, dependence, or interest in quitting at intake. Medical care providers were more likely to conduct assessments and provide services. Although 94% of providers indicated a willingness to incorporate tobacco cessation services, 65% perceived client resistance as a barrier to services. HIV/AIDS service providers are inadequately addressing the high smoking rate among PLWHA, despite being uniquely suited to do so. Efforts are needed to educate providers about the need for, and interest in, tobacco cessation.