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TB, HIV, and Smoking: A Perfect Storm

CDC Joins other TB Experts in Call to “Clear the Smoke” Around TB and HIV

A study authored by CDC and other TB experts in the August 2015 issue of The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease identifies a critical missed opportunity in current TB, HIV, and TB-HIV programs. According to the paper, “Clearing the Smoke around the TB-HIV Syndemic ,” while smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are known to worsen TB and HIV, strategies proven to reduce tobacco use are not yet routinely included in treatment programs.

The authors, including CDC’s Eric Pevzner, Team Lead for Vulnerable Populations in the Division of Global HIV & TB*, call for urgent action to integrate anti-smoking strategies into TB, HIV, and TB-HIV care, and recommend the use of the World Health Organization’s MPOWER intervention for reducing tobacco use.

“Smoking, HIV and TB create a perfect storm that dramatically increases a patient’s risk for TB disease and for poorer outcomes and death from these two diseases,” said Eric Pevzner, PhD, MPH, a CDC co-author of the paper. “Treating TB and HIV provides an ideal opportunity to offer the support and advice proven to help patients quit tobacco and realize the benefits of life-saving treatments for TB and HIV. We know the MPOWER interventions work. We must act quickly to integrate these simple interventions that save time, money and, most importantly, lives.”

Each year, nearly 9 million people become sick with TB and 2 million people die of TB-related causes. At least one-third of the nearly 36 million people living with HIV are also infected with TB, which is the leading cause of death among people who are HIV-infected. Smoking is more prevalent among people with TB or HIV. It is associated with poorer outcomes for TB treatment, and may also inhibit the effectiveness of life-saving HIV antiretroviral treatment.

MPOWER is estimated to have prevented 7.4 million premature deaths between 2007 and 2010. The paper also highlights resources to help reach vulnerable populations for streamlined and improved patient care.

For more information about the article’s findings, read the journal article here or accompanying press release.

For information on CDC’s fight against the global TB epidemic, visit CDC’s Global Health Programs: Global Tuberculosis Elimination.


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