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Still Puffing? New Help for Smokers Living With HIV

Still Puffing? New Help for Smokers Living With HIV

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Photo by Anna Shvets via Pexels

Smoking is particularly dangerous for people living with HIV.

A video-based smoking cessation program for HIV-positive smokers in Nepal has led to a 40 percent quit rate among participants.

The program was developed by Krishna Poudel, director of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Institute for Global Health. Poudel adapted an English-language smoking cessation intervention for HIV-positive people into a culturally relevant program he wrote and narrated in the Nepali language.

The videos feature pictures, animation, and graphics that educate participants about the consequences of smoking tobacco. They also help the viewer set a quit date, quit, deal with urges, and maintain abstinence. The videos are so important because HIV-positive people have a greater risk of death from smoking than from HIV-related causes.

Using the Vidyard software platform, Poudel and his team sent participants links to the video clips and monitored their watching behaviors under a password-protected account.

Of the 48 participants, 46 watched all the video clips, and the study retention at three months — when a post-intervention assessment took place — was 100 percent. At that point, 19 participants' (40 percent) smoking abstinence was confirmed by their expired carbon monoxide levels.

Poudel is eager to scale up the program and is already working on an accompanying smartphone app. “There is a need,” he said in a statement. “The number of smartphone users has greatly increased, including in low- and middle-income countries, so we should be able to reach out to a large number of HIV-positive smokers in Nepal, even outside the capital city.”

Poudel was surprised and pleased by the results of the pilot study. “I was confident that a lot of people would quit, but I was not expecting 40 percent,” he said.

For more information on quitting smoking, click here or watch the video below from the Centers for Disease Control.

CDC: Tips from Former Smokers - Cessation Tips

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