People with HIV who smoke cigarettes are 10 times more likely to die from lung cancer than from HIV, a study has found.
Those diagnosed with HIV are living longer because of the increasingly effective antiviral medications that have been developed in the last decade.
But prevention from lung cancer has not developed at a similar rate.
More than 40% of people living with HIV in the United States smoke, compared with 15% of the general adult population.
And researchers say that lung cancer prevention through smoking cessation should be a priority in the care of people living with HIV.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) analysed people in the United States who have HIV and their risk of developing lung cancer, the Daily Mail reported.
They looked at people with HIV who were current, former and never smokers, as well as how many cigarettes they smoked per day.
Each person’s risk was also determined if they consistently took their antiviral medication for HIV.
“Lung cancer is now one of the leading killers of people with HIV, but most of these deaths can be prevented,” said Dr Rochelle Walensky, chief of the MGH Division of Infectious Diseases and senior author of the study.
The researchers found that nearly 25% of people who consistently take their anti-HIV medications but continue to smoke will die from lung cancer.
Among smokers who quit at age 40, only about 6% will die of lung cancer.
Heavy smokers are at an even higher risk for lung cancer, with risks approaching 30%.