UW-CTRI Paper on Smokers Living with HIV Gives Insight for Future Cessation Interventions

Doctor with AIDS red ribbonAn alarming 40 percent of individuals living with HIV are smokers. UW-CTRI’s Director of Clinical Services, Dr. Doug Jorenby, co-authored the paper, “Cessation-Related Information, Motivation, and Behavioral Skills in Smokers Living with HIV,” recently published in the journal AIDS Care. Dr. Daniel Shirley of the UW Division of Infectious Diseases was the lead author.

In 2010, twenty smokers living with HIV (SLWH) from two Wisconsin HIV care clinics participated in open-ended interviews guided by the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills (IMB) model. This model is widely used to gain insight on how an individual’s knowledge, motivation, and skills contribute to their overall health behavior. According to Dr. Jorenby, it has been used regularly in HIV studies.

The participants, who volunteered to participate in semi-structured interviews, described personal past attempts and methods of quitting, along with how their social network manipulates their feelings and behaviors related to smoking cessation.

Jorenby noted, “The qualitative study was a real strength, having given specific examples of things clinicians can convey, like letting people know that the meds they’re taking would be much more effective without smoking.”

The paper sheds light on barriers faced by this population. Eighty percent of the individuals reported negative feelings towards their doctor’s means of addressing their smoking habits. In addition, 70 percent of the participants said they never heard of, nor considered, effects of smoking on HIV medications.

“We need to step up and personalize [smoking cessation programs] for people,” stated Jorenby.

Moreover, the majority of participants were open to improved education and conversations about smoking cessation giving hope to more adequate cessation programs. The researchers hope these findings will allow development of more tailored and effective cessation techniques for SLWH.