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Open Access Research article

Physicians are a key to encouraging cessation of smoking among people living with HIV/AIDS: a cross-sectional study in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Rachel M Amiya1, Krishna C Poudel1*, Kalpana Poudel-Tandukar2, Jun Kobayashi3, Basu D Pandey4 and Masamine Jimba1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community and Global Health, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

2 Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

3 Bureau of International Cooperation, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

4 Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:677  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-677

Published: 31 August 2011

Abstract

Background

HIV care providers may be optimally positioned to promote smoking behaviour change in their patients, among whom smoking is both highly prevalent and uniquely harmful. Yet research on this front is scant, particularly in the developing country context. Hence, this study describes smoking behaviour among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, and assesses the association between experience of physician-delivered smoking status assessment and readiness to quit among HIV-positive smokers.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional survey of PLWHA residing in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Data from 321 adult PLWHA were analyzed using multiple logistic regression for correlates of current smoking and, among current smokers, of motivational readiness to quit based on the transtheoretical model (TTM) of behaviour change.

Results

Overall, 47% of participants were current smokers, with significantly higher rates among men (72%), ever- injecting drug users (IDUs), recent (30-day) alcohol consumers, those without any formal education, and those with higher HIV symptom burdens. Of 151 current smokers, 34% were thinking seriously of quitting within the next 6 months (contemplation or preparation stage of behaviour change). Adjusting for potential confounders, experience of physician-delivered smoking status assessment during any visit to a hospital or clinic in the past 12 months was associated with greater readiness to quit smoking (AOR = 3.34; 95% CI = 1.05,10.61).

Conclusions

Roughly one-third of HIV-positive smokers residing in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, are at the contemplation or preparation stage of smoking behaviour change, with rates significantly higher among those whose physicians have asked about their smoking status during any clinical interaction over the past year. Systematic screening for smoking by physicians during routine HIV care may help to reduce the heavy burden of smoking and smoking-related morbidity and mortality within HIV-positive populations in Nepal and similar settings.