Nearly half of all HIV positive people smoke, and now they will be the target of a new, upbeat quitting campaign.
The prevalence of smoking in the positive community is nearly twice that of the general population and considerably higher than the general GLBT community.
Antiretrovirals are extending people’s lives but they also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, making quitting imperative, according to ACON’s manager of positive services and HIV health promotion, Ian Walker.
“If people continue to smoke, they increase their risk of developing smoking-related cancers. Research has also shown the best thing to increase your overall health as a person with HIV is to quit smoking because of the long-term cardiovascular and other problems associated with long-term HIV and antiretroviral therapies,” Walker said.
The campaign has deliberately shifted away from scare tactics.
“People are saying, ‘We know smoking is bad for us’ and that approach doesn’t work,” Walker said. “We’ve tried to create a really upbeat campaign that doesn’t look like a smoking cessation campaign. The messages are all about the positive benefits of quitting rather than the negative consequences of continuing to smoke.”

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