54% higher rates of COPD in women with HIV: Study

Toronto (IANS) Researchers have found that the rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among women living with HIV was 54 per cent higher than that of HIV-negative women.

The study, published in the journal CMAJ Open, also showed that people in Ontario living with HIV had a 34 per cent (COPD) and were diagnosed with the disease about 12 years younger than HIV-negative individuals.

“As people with HIV live longer, it is important to understand how common other illnesses are to ensure that prevention, screening and treatment strategies can be developed,” said study researcher Tony Antoniou from St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada.

COPD affects over 380 million people worldwide and is projected to become the fourth leading global cause of death by 2030. It is potentially preventable and is strongly associated with smoking.

For the findings, the researchers analysed incidences of COPD among adults 35 years and older who were living with and without HIV between 1996 and 2015 in Ontario – where over 40 per cent of Canadians living with HIV reside.

People with HIV were diagnosed with COPD at a mean age of 50 years old compared with 62 for HIV-negative individuals, the research added.

“We wanted to understand how common COPD is in Ontario residents with HIV because COPD is a disease that generally worsens with time, can worsen a person’s quality of life and is strongly linked to smoking,” Antoniou said.

In a sensitivity analysis, the higher prevalence of smoking in people with HIV appeared to explain the higher risk of COPD in these patients.

“While other factors may contribute to the development of COPD in people with HIV, our work highlights the importance of trying to help our patients with HIV quit smoking to prevent COPD in the first place and prevent further lung damage in people who are already diagnosed with COPD,” Antoniou said.

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