New research reveals that cigarette smokers who are HIV positive seem to have a higher chance of dying from smoking-related complications than from HIV.

Using a computer simulation of HIV disease and treatment, the authors calculated the life expectancy of people with HIV, based on whether or not they smoked.

In the U.S., it is common for people with HIV to abandon their drug treatment and care regimen. The current study factored this into the projections, making the results particularly relevant for U.S. patients and health providers.

Findings showed that in people with HIV who follow their treatment correctly, smoking decreases their life expectancy by about twice as much as HIV does.

For men with HIV, the loss of life expectancy for HIV and for smoking was similar, whether or not they followed their treatment regime.

Male smokers who started HIV treatment at the age of 40 years stood to lose 6.7 years of life expectancy, and women, 6.3 years, compared with those who never smoked. Men who quit smoking and started treatment at 40 years would regain 5.7 years of life, and women, 4.6 years.

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