D Gregory Smith

HIV+ Smokers- Part 2

Filed By D Gregory Smith | February 02, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: CD4 count, HIV/AIDS, Poz smokers, Smoking cessation

You may remember the essay I wrote about HIV and smoking Poz Smokers and the Facts. You may also remember that the report I cited mentioned that there is evidence that smoking negates some of the effects of antiretroviral medications. I now have some personal experience that may boost the credibility of that study.

My last T-cell (CD4) count was taken on October 10, 2009. The count was 583 cmm, which is pretty good. Normal is considered anywhere from 400-1400, and my T-cell numbers had been hovering in the high 500's for about a year. I quit smoking on October 19, 2009. When I got my last T-cell counts in January, 2010, they were an unbelievable 903!

Do I think that quitting smoking was directly responsible for that jump? I think it played a large part and I can find no other lifestyle change between those two tests. Do I think my counts will stay that high? I'm optimistic and so is my doctor, but only time will tell.

I do know that I feel better - more energy, more focus and a better sense of well-being. Will it continue? I'll let you know. In the meantime, does anyone else have any similar experiences? I'd love to hear about them.

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I just forwarded this to a good friend who is poz and has taken up smoking along with saying to all of us who disapprove "What, is it gonna kill me?"

Thanx! for this. I, too, forwarded it to a poz friend who smokes like a chimney and is sick all of the time...and getting worse it seems. I want him to have every advantage to stay well.

Well; congrats on your numbers jump, Gregory:)
I smoke 2+ packs a day still, but by odd coincidence, I also experienced a 400+ jump in my numbers, too, at the end of Dec.. I attribute it to a change in meds, and my own increased compliance in taking them. I am not a clinician, nor researcher so I can't comment on the studies or your experience except to say that I'm convinced that much (tho certainly not all) of the studies are quite suspect - since they are funded by our gov't most times - and our gov't is heavily invested in getting smokers to stop to save medicare costs. I do recall quitting for a period of a month about 7 yrs ago, and my t-cells went DOWN. The doc speculated the stress and anxiety of quitting was the possible cause of that? Why they went up after I resumed smoking is anyone's guess, and I'm not going to be flippant and suggest that smoking is good for folks with HIV. Anyway; I sure hope you continue to enjoy good health like that, and that you attain it via any means that works for you.

twinkie 1 cat | February 3, 2010 12:02 PM

It is really reasonable to think it would. Ok, when you stopped smoking your t-cells were able to stop fighting the tar and nicotine that was poisoning your lungs. They did not get so worn out and could reproduce and fight the HIV instead.\
Even though HIV is now a controllable disease having any disease that affects the immune system and any habit that tears the body down (alcoholism, smoking) makes the body more vulnerable to other diseases that may not be directly related to it.

Smoking is hard on the heart, but the fact is, tobacco use plays a role in a multitude of diseases that ultimately lead to disability and/or death.


Glad you quit, Greg. I'm trying to get Alberto to stop, but he keeps on saying that he's been reducing.

All this after he promised me 2 years ago that he wouldn't get addicted. And I laughed and laughed at that, but, what can I do, treat him like a child and flush his cigarettes every time he buys them?

At least I got him to admit I was right two years ago that most people can't smoke without getting addicted, and that he specifically can't do it. Sometimes I'll just have to accept that being right is better than being happy.