In a large case-control study recently completed at Copenhagen University, scientists found that smoking is even more deadly than HIV. The study found that smokers with HIV had much greater all-cause and non-AIDS related death than non-smokers with HIV.
The study demonstrates the very potent hazards of smoking and also confirms that patients with well-controlled HIV are able to have longer, healthier lives than HIV patients who smoke. In Copenhagen, treatment for HIV is available at no-cost, so patients have the opportunity to maximize medical treatment and are consequently able to improve survival rates. In that setting, the study found that 60% of the deaths among HIV patients was associated with smoking.
While HIV was previously considered an irreversible death sentence, that does not appear to be the case among patients who are well-controlled on available anti-retroviral therapy. However, there is no drug that removes the increased morbidity and mortality caused by smoking.