BACKGROUND. While the detrimental effects of smoking among HIV-positive patients have been well documented, there is a paucity of data
regarding cigarette smoking prevalence among these patients in South Africa (SA).
OBJECTIVES. To establish the frequency, demographics, knowledge of harmful effects, and knowledge of smoking cessation strategies among
HIV-positive patients in Johannesburg, SA.
METHODS. We conducted a prospective cross-sectional survey using a structured questionnaire to interview HIV-positive patients attending
the HIV Clinic at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital between 1 July and 31 October 2011.
RESULTS. Of 207 HIV-positive patients attending an antiretroviral therapy (ART) roll-out clinic, 31 (15%) were current smokers (23.2%
of males and 7.4% of females) and a further 45 (21.7%) were ex-smokers. Most of the current smokers (30/31 patients) indicated their
wish to quit smoking, and among the group as a whole, most patients were aware of the general (82.1%) and HIV-related (77.8%) risks
of smoking and of methods for quitting smoking. Despite this, however, most (62.3%) were not aware of who they could approach for
assistance and advice.
CONCLUSIONS. Given the relatively high prevalence of current and ex-smokers among HIV-positive patients, there is a need for the
introduction of smoking-cessation strategies and assistance at ART roll-out clinics in SA.