HIV/AIDS Epidemiology: Education, Age and Drinking Associated With Smoking Status in HIV/AIDS

Scientists at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston conducted a study "to describe smoking prevalence and smoking behavior in a multiethnic low-income HIV/AIDS population. A cross-sectional design was used. The study site was Thomas Street Clinic, an HIV/AIDS care facility serving a medically indigent and ethnically diverse population," the investigators wrote.

"Demographic, disease status, behavioral, and psychosocial variables were assessed by participant self-report. Surveys were collected from 348 study participants. Demographic composition of the sample was 78% male, 25% white, 44% Black, and 29% Hispanic. Study participants had a mean age of 40.2 years (SD=7.8)," the report stated.

"The HIV exposure profile of the sample was diverse: 46% men who have sex with men, 35% heterosexual contact, and 11% injection drug use. Prevalence of current cigarette smoking in the sample was 46.9%. Among participants with a lifetime history of smoking 100 or more cigarettes (62.8%), only 26.6% were currently abstinent, lower than the 48.8% rate seen in the general population," reported E.R. Gritz and colleagues.

In multiple logistic regression analysis, race/ethnicity, education level, age and heavy drinking were "significantly associated" with smoking status. The likelihood of smoking decreased, and the likelihood of quitting increased, as education level increased. "Hispanics were less likely than Whites were to smoke, younger participants were less likely than older participants were to be current smokers, and heavy drinkers were more likely to be current smokers than were those who were not heavy drinkers," according to the report.

"The high smoking prevalence in this HIV/AIDS population demonstrates the need for smoking cessation interventions targeted to the special needs of this patient group," the investigators concluded.

The report, "Smoking Behavior in a Low-Income Multiethnic HIV/AIDS Population," appeared in Nicotine & Tobacco Research (2004;6(1):71-77).