A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial of Intensive Group Therapy for Tobacco Treatment in HIV-Infected Cigarette Smokers

Cassandra A. Stanton, Princy N. Kumar, Alyson B. Moadel, Chinazo O. Cunningham, Clyde B. Schechter, Ryung S. Kim, Jonathan Shuter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background:Tobacco use has emerged as the leading killer of persons living with HIV (PLWH) in the United States. Little is known about the efficacy of tobacco treatment strategies in PLWH.Design:Randomized controlled trial comparing Positively Smoke Free (PSF), an intensive group therapy intervention targeting HIV-infected smokers, to brief advice to quit. All participants were offered a 12-week supply of nicotine patches.Methods:A cohort of 450 PLWH smokers, recruited from HIV-care centers in the Bronx, New York, and Washington, DC, were randomized 1:1 into the PSF or brief advice to quit conditions. PSF is an 8-session program tailored to address the needs and concerns of HIV-infected smokers and delivered by a trained smoking cessation counselor and PLWH ex-smoker peer pair. The primary outcome was biochemically confirmed, 7-day point-prevalence abstinence at 6 months.Results:In the intention to treat analysis, PSF condition subjects had nearly double the quit rate of controls, 13% vs. 6.6% [odds ratio = 2.10 (95% confidence interval = 1.10 to 4.14), P = 0.04], at 3 months, but no significant difference in abstinence was observed at 6 months. PSF participants exhibited lower nicotine dependence and higher self-efficacy to resist smoking temptations at both 3 and 6 months compared with controls. Lower educational attainment, current cocaine use, past use of nicotine patches, and higher distress tolerance were significant predictors of continued smoking at 6 months.Conclusions:These findings suggest a role for group therapy among tobacco treatments for PLWH smokers, but strategies to augment the durability of early effects are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-414
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • HIV
  • cigarette
  • group therapy
  • smoking
  • tobacco use
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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