BACKGROUD: Studies in adults have shown that smokers have a higher risk of death and a higher
risk of developing AIDS. Other studies have shown an increased risk of smoking HIV-positive
adults to infections. There is, however, no available data on HIV-related disease progression in
environmental tobacco smoke exposed children.
AIM: The aim of this study was to determine if passive ETS exposure is a risk factor for HIVrelated
disease progression in children.
METHODS: An observational, descriptive study of children attending the HIV Clinic at a District
Hospital during October 2007.
RESULTS: 127 children were enrolled. 47 (37%) were living in households where adults smoke.
There was no difference between passive tobacco smoke exposed children and those not exposed
for CD4 percentage (p=0.66) or HIV stage (p=0.70). HIV-infected children were no more likely
to be admitted to hospital if caregivers smoked (p=0.70).
CONCLUSION: This study of HIV-infected children, did not reveal significant differences in
objective measures of HIV status (CD4 count and HIV stage), nor increased rates of more severe
illness (hospitalization) between children exposed to passive ETS and those not exposed. This is
in contra-distinction to adult studies. The small sample size may limit comparison in this study.