Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


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.

Objectives: To establish the frequency, demographics, and knowledge of harmful effects and of smoking cessation strategies among HIV-positive patients in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Methods: A prospective cross-sectional survey, using a structured questionnaire interview, of HIV-positive patients attending the HIV Clinic at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital between 1 July 2011 and 31 October 2011.

Results: Of 207 HIV positive patients attending an ARV roll-out clinic, 31 (15%) were current smokers (23% of the males and 7.5% of the 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 (82.5%) and HIV-related (77.8%) risks of smoking and of methods of quitting smoking. Despite this, however, most (61.8%) were not aware of whom they could approach for assistance and advice.

Conclusions: Given the relatively high prevalence of current and ex-smokers amongst HIV positive patients there is a need for the introduction of smoking cessation strategies and assistance at HIV-rollout clinics in South Africa.

Publication (Name of Journal)

S Afr Med J