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Tobacco use and HIV symptom severity in Chinese people living with HIV.


Exposure to nicotine among people living with HIV (PLWH) may impact physical health as indicated by experienced symptoms. Yet, the empirical evidence documenting the relations between tobacco use and symptom experiences among PLWH remains limited. This study aims to assess the relationships between tobacco use and HIV symptoms through a cross-sectional survey conducted in Beijing and Shanghai. The WHO ASSIST screening test was used for frequency of tobacco use. Sixty-four items from the revised signs and symptoms checklist for persons with HIV disease (SSC-HIVrev) were used. "Total number of symptoms" was created by summing all the binary coded and "Maximal symptom severity" was created by taking the maximal severity level across all symptoms for each participant. After controlling for confounding variables, tobacco use was not associated with the total number of symptom, yet was associated with the maximal symptom severity. This study documents the link between tobacco use and experienced symptoms among PLWH by demonstrating that higher frequency of tobacco use is associated with greater odds of reporting more severe symptoms. Smoking cessation strategies should be integrated into symptom management interventions for PLWH to optimize their effectiveness.

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