Successful new smoking cessation intervention for people living with HIV

Researchers in Ottawa have released the results of a new smoking cessation intervention tailored to the needs of people living with HIV. Forty to seventy percent of people living with HIV smoke and 40–60% of people living with HIV are depressed.

The intervention targeted both smoking and depression. Participants were offered free NicoDerm patches, as well as five one-on-one counselling sessions that taught cognitive behavioural therapy skills for managing depression and quitting smoking.

Fifty-five people living with HIV participated in the study. Most participants had been smoking for over twenty years, and 52% entered the study with elevated symptoms of depression. After six months, however, 28% of participants had quit smoking – even though depression often leads to smoking and can make it harder to quit.

The study authors concluded that people living with HIV who are depressed can be helped to quit smoking– so long as the intervention addresses depression. The positive outcome also shows that strategies tailored to the unique needs of people living with HIV are effective, and that there is a need for more development and testing in this area as the very high rates of smoking are a major contributor to the high incidence of cardiovascular disease among people living with HIV.

More details about the study are available here.

Check out Positive Quitting for more smoking cessation resources.

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