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HIV and Tobacco

You've worked hard to manage your HIV, but that work can be undone if you continue to use tobacco.

Smoking worsens your health

A close-up of a young man in orange shirt

People with HIV who smoke develop lung diseases, respiratory problems, heart disease, and cancer, just like HIV-negative smokers. But that's not all, smoking:

  • Can make your HIV worse because it can affect how your antiretroviral medications work
  • May be a more serious and immediate risk to you than HIV because it puts you at greater risk for non-AIDS related illnesses such as a heart attack, stroke, or lung cancer
  • Can result in a greater risk of AIDS-related illnesses like Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia and tuberculosis

If you quit smoking, you’ll decrease your risk of heart disease, pneumonia, and HIV-related symptoms (e.g., fatigue, headache, insomnia).

VA can help

If you are a Veteran living with HIV and want to quit tobacco, talk with the VA health care provider treating you. They can:

Learn more about HIV and quitting smoking:

Call 1-855-QUIT-VET, VA's smoking quitline. Counselors at the quitline can provide you with counseling to help you change your habits, and help you develop skills to cope with the stress of quitting.

Learn about HIV testing and treatment in VA.

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