Kelly's Blog

25 Things You Should Know About HIV (And Probably Don’t) – Day 7

Posted in Awareness, Information, Quality of Life on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 by Kelly - Leave a comment

We are back with the 25 things you should know about HIV (and probably don’t) over 25 days. Today is #7.  These 25 things will impact what you do and the choices you will make.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.  ~Anaïs Nin

#7: Smoking makes symptoms and side effects of HIV disease worse.            

Smoking weakens the immune system. When you smoke, you get sick more often from HIV and it makes it more difficult to fight off serious infections.

Smoking is a pleasure for many of us and we often use it to help us cope when dealing with stress. The only problem here is that you will experience more stress (both physical and emotional) when you have to face getting sick more often.

Smoking makes the side effects of HIV treatment more severe. It is has been shown that if you smoke and take antiretroviral drugs, you are far more likely to suffer side effects like nausea and vomiting.

Some of the other long term side effects of treatment like osteoporosis (weakening of bones) and cardiovascular disease (heart attacks) are made worse by smoking.

Why is this important to you?

Smoking is like a big road block in your fight with HIV. It has been shown that smoking can even interfere with how your liver processes your HIV medications.

HIV is going to put many demands on your body. You will be asking your body and your immune system to step up and fight every day for the rest of your life. Smoking can take you out of that fight or make the fight more intense and stressful.

It is no longer a question of quitting smoking somewhere down the road because it could be a problem for your health. Smoking is a problem for your health today if you are HIV positive.

How does this affect your path?

There are many choices to make when facing an HIV positive diagnosis.

If you have already made the choice to fight this disease and live your life without limitations, please make the choice to learn all that you can about HIV. A fighter knows the rules of the game.

One of those rules is that you must choose whether to smoke or to make your life with HIV easier. It may seem a simple choice to someone who doesn’t smoke, but it is very difficult to quit smoking. You are probably going to need some help and the first step is to talk to your healthcare provider about medications or support groups to help you quit.

You can also go to or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to find out about support in your area.

HIV means facing a new reality and making some tough choices. Your choice to stop smoking is a choice to live the best life possible with HIV.

“There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it’s easy.”~Unknown

The power is yours. What path will you choose?

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