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Friday, September 29, 2006

Smoking and HIV

posted by on September 29 at 16:18 PM

Hey, Faggot: Need another reason to quit smoking? Besides the stink, what it does to your skin, the impotence, and the various cancers it causes? How about the fact that smoking increases your risk of contracting HIVby a whole fuck of a lot.

Smoking might increase the risk of contracting HIV, according to a study published in the Aug. 21 online edition of the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

According to the study, smokers are between 60% and 300% more likely to contract HIV than nonsmokers. The researchers said they are not sure why the link exists, but they note the increasing evidence that smoking raises the risk of contracting all types of infections, possibly because it might alter the structure of the lungs or weaken the immune system.

I realize that cigarettes are glamorous and that smoking is a choice that any fool is free to make and that without smokes little dive bars everywhere die faster than stage-4 cancer patients, but… Christ almighty. Why the fuck do people put those things in their mouths?

RSS icon Comments


Not to be flippant or anything, but it's a cheaper, more satisfying, socially acceptable, and self-destructive addiction than drugs or alcohol.

Posted by dewsterling | September 29, 2006 4:46 PM

Not to be all Tobacco Research Council-y, but the correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation. It's possible, for instance, that the population of people who smoke are as a group more prone to taking other sorts of risks as well.

Just sayin. If people aren't afraid of dying from smoking cigarettes, which clearly state that they'll kill you right on the goddamn package, I doubt if your warning is gonna make it through their "nothing bad can happen to me" forcefields.

Posted by flamingbanjo | September 29, 2006 4:47 PM

ditto Flamingbanjo.

The abstract for the article notes that while 5 studies suggested that smoking may be an independent variable, 10 did not.

The conclusion notes: "Tobacco smoking may be an independent risk factor for HIV infection although residual confounding is another possible explanation."

ahh yes, that residual confounding...the bane of good epidemiologists everywhere.

Until you see all that was controlled for in the multivariate analysis, there's no way of really judging this.

Posted by gnossos | September 29, 2006 4:59 PM

Only Satan knows why I started, but I continue to smoke because I'm addicted. The only thing I like about cigarettes is that they satiate my need for...well, for another god damn cigarette.

I can imagine a majority of smokers feel the same way. Unless you're 16 years old or an idiot, I highly doubt most of us find them "cool" or "glamorous."

They say the addiction to cigarettes is about as strong as an addiction to heroin and while I've never had the itch for the latter, I can tell you that being a bitch to nicotine is a bitch.


Posted by Damien | September 29, 2006 5:05 PM

Hey fellow homos everywhere: Screw cigarettes! If you want to put something in your mouth, isn't a cock is so much meatier and more satisfying?!

Posted by TCBATL | September 29, 2006 5:31 PM

Now if I could just get a cock in my mouth 20 times a day.....

Posted by kevin | September 29, 2006 5:42 PM

^^^^ oh c'mon, there are lots of bathrooms around the city that are good for that!

Posted by Investigatory Journalist | September 29, 2006 5:55 PM

I feel you Damien.

I quit heroin, I quit cocaine, and I quit drinking alcohol, but the cigarettes have still got me after 28 years.

Posted by Mark Mitchell | September 29, 2006 7:03 PM

It's odd to read this posting as I'm chewing on 2mgs of Nicorette. I haven't had a smoke in 43 hours and 25 minutes. I didn't plan on quitting. I just didn't want to wake up from yet another nightmare of watching my (imagined) daughter running around outside through a hospital window while I'm bed-ridden and withering with cancer. (yah, i know it's hallmarky but blame my subconscious). I don't need stats on more health risks to motivate me – I’m just tired of being a slave, dreaming of freedom.

But this quitting shit is fucking miserable. I've been a two pack a day smoker for almost a decade and now - feeling the frenzy of my unfed addiction alter my mental states, cause my hands to shake and my limbs to ache - all I can say is fuck this. Feeling this - the last thing I want is the instant gratification of another smoke. It's BECAUSE of the fucking smokes that I feel this way.

With fags nearing 6 bucks a pop, I've spent 12 bucks a day and at least $360 a month on paying for my own decaying health. I can't walk up the goddamn hill without bitching and heaving. I refuse to work to pay to enslave myself anymore.

I'll probably never lose the components of my personality which lead me to being a smoker in the first place. But hopefully now I won't feel like a fucking pawn padding the pockets of rich muthas who prey on the addicted. Even if it does mean that I lose cool points. To make up for it, I’ll have to quit watching Battlestar, and start wearing 80’s gear and listening to Band of Horses.

Posted by the unpaid news intern | September 29, 2006 7:39 PM

Oh, UNI. You can make it. Shake that monkey. The chemicals that have kept you addicted only last 72 hours. Then you are free. My doctor said so.

Posted by smoked | September 29, 2006 8:19 PM

Damn. The only nightmare I remember from last night was buying a Toy Government Kit at a toy store - All Three Branches! - you know, in case I need it or something.

Posted by Noink | September 29, 2006 8:42 PM

Ah yes, blame the cigs. Wish you'd be as consistently hysterical about barebacking as you are about cigarette smoking--but I won't hold my breath. I'll just exhale instead.

Posted by Boomer | September 29, 2006 8:47 PM

Jesus, boomer - how bitter and jealous can you be? For you the glass isn't half empty - it's smashed into bits, with vodka spattered all over the upholstery, and you sobbing in the fucking corner, holding one of the shards to your wrist.

Nobody likes a negative queen, darling....

Posted by Little Mary Sunshine | September 29, 2006 9:35 PM

Hey, yuppie:

As anyone knows (except people with an axe to grind and ink by the barrel), any one medical "study" is not the last word in anything. Hell, they can't even begin to frame a study to nail down the dangers of second-hand smoke.

At least the ads about big tobacco supporting Repug liars who vote against faggots have some veracity.

Posted by Tunanator | September 30, 2006 2:28 AM


1. The oldest man in the world (I think he's 115 now) smoked cigarettes for 76 years.
2. The odds of getting lung cancer from cig smoking are 1 in 10.

What's sad is that the only place fags can hang out is in dingy bars where they can court alcoholism. Where's all the angst on that one?

How about burning some of that zealousness under a big pot that'll create a community hangout besides another cheesy bar?

Posted by Tunanator | September 30, 2006 2:32 AM

Not to be all Tobacco Research Council-y, but the correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation

Thank you for the moment of sanity amidst the hysteria. Correlation does not prove causation.

Interesting discussion on this, as well as other topics in the AIDS world to be found here:

Let's add up some of the things that can make you more susceptible to "HIV infection"...
dark skin
crystal meth
other recreational drugs

These also fit under the correlation umbrella. But you'll find rabid AIDS activists advocating running around Africa with a scalpel, wanting to hack off foreskin of black men in an effort to fight "AIDS"...on the basis of correlation. Of course, us do-goody white liberal folks don't see ANY racism in that, heaven forbid.

Nor do we see any racism in our view that Africans don't have the wherewithall to stop screwing themselves to death. I mean, come's so obvious. Us good white folk in the west are doing OK, but all those dark-skinned people in Africa are screwing themselves to death. No, I don't see any racism in that view at all.

I'm sure you're ALL aware of the Bangui definition for AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa? It was established in 1985 by the WHO. It relies on no actual "HIV" test, but rather on symptoms common to a multitude of maladies experienced in that part of the world. And of course, I'm sure you're ALL aware that even if an actual "HIV test" is used, malaria and tuberculosis BOTH cross-react with the test. Hmmm. Oh well, I'm sure there's really a sexually-transmitted disease epidemic there. Let's turn a blind eye to all the problems we previously knew exist in Africa, and instead assume that those folks just can stop screwing themselves to death.

Remember all those pictures of gaunt faces in Africa...before AIDS was in vogue? Remember them staring at you, asking for help? Now, look at the gaunt faces, what's changed?

Oh, yeah, this was about smoking and susceptibility to being "HIV-infected". Only have one thing to say about that. Smoking is disgusting.

Posted by BD | September 30, 2006 8:11 AM

Neither bitter nor jealous, Mary Sunshine--nor, in face, a drinker nor smoker (other than the occasional weed, and then only occasionally).

I just wish someone as influential as Dan Savage would heroically call out the problem of barebacking. Don't quite know why that hope would inspire such a hissy lil' response from you, but...

Posted by Boomer | September 30, 2006 8:17 AM

I'm pretty sure the link is that smoking is a classic sign of a risk-prone personality. A willingness to engage in risky behaviors obviously increases the potential fall out. For the straight guys, look for the girl that smokes, has tattoos and drinks hard liquor. Risky behaviors = fun times.

Posted by Smoke him if you got him | September 30, 2006 9:42 AM

As long as you are going to suck on something that most of society is going to look down on you for, it might as well be something big.
Cigars are healthier because you don't inhale. They are also more honest. No cigar smoker in this country could possibly believe that his smoking is in any way tolerated by the public.
The cigar smoker does something that he knows most people consider disgusting. In his self-imposed pariah status he is much like the afficionado of water sports, or of fisting.
Also cigars, or at least good cigars, don't support the likes of Jesse Helms, and at least some of the money goes to third world farmers and rollers who need it.

Posted by kinaidos | September 30, 2006 9:42 AM

Cigarette smokers are gross and tacky. Their clothes smell. I prefer people who eat only organic sustainable food. Everyone should be forced to take regular yoga classes and eat a healthy diet.

Posted by Kimberly | September 30, 2006 10:16 AM

There are plenty of real life examples of how dangerous second hand smoke is. Helena, Montana had a smoking ban for six months, before it was overridden by their state legislature. During that six months, there was something like a 20% drop in admissions to the emergency room for heart attacks. As soon as it was overridden, the admissions went right back up to normal. A 27% drop was observed in Pueblo, Colorado after they enacted their smoking ban. The rest of the state experienced no drop. Now epidemiologists can look at my shitty hometown (Roswell, NM), and examine admissions there. Anecdotally, I can tell you that my only smoker friend, who's a bartender, was able to quit after the ban because he wasn't constantly exposed to his addiction while working. They can also examine all of California, and in a couple years, all of Washington, or New York City. I'm certain similar results will be found.

Posted by Gitai | September 30, 2006 10:39 AM

$360 a month on cigs? Holy Crap! That's $4320 year. Put that money in a dependable mutual fund with 8% compound interest over the next 25 years and you've got a nice nest egg. Do it every year and you'll be able to retire with it (depending on how old you are now).

That's worth quitting on its own.

Posted by Bosco | September 30, 2006 3:57 PM

If you've read Dan's archives, you know he's been raging about careless gays for a few years now.

Posted by Gloria | September 30, 2006 3:59 PM

All you whiney smokers need to learn how to roll your own cigs. Way cheaper. And yes, the filters are dirt cheap too.

Posted by arewenotmarlboromen? | September 30, 2006 4:15 PM

If you've read Dan's archives, you know he's been raging about careless gays for a few years now.

It's really too bad that Mr. Savage sees fit to expend negative energy toward his community.

Instead of chastising his community for its perceived negative behaviors, his influence and energy could be so much better spent if he used them in a positive manner.

I understand that there are folks who have tried to get him to see beyond the surface of the AIDS fiasco. Unfortunately, from what I can see, those efforts seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Dan, did you ever read that article by Celia Farber in Harper's last March?

Mr. Savage could be a potent force for positive change in his community. I'd personally love to see that happen. But it will take courage, research, and the willingness to be a lightning rod.

Dan, haven't you had enough of this AIDS nightmare? Isn't it time to shift gears and take a different look at it all?

Start with that article in Harper's. Talk to Celia Farber. I bet she's more than willing to talk about this issue with you.

25 years of this madness. Isn't it time for some change?

Posted by BD | October 1, 2006 9:33 AM

From a letter by Gregg Gonsalves of GMHC to Harper's Magazine, after the publication of Celia Farber's article:

"Farber is a well-known AIDS denialist and publishing her work is akin to giving the folks at the Discovery Institute a place to expound upon the "science" of intelligent design, Charles Davenport a venue to educate us about the racial inferiority of the Negro or Lyndon LaRouche a platform to warn us about aliens, bio-duplication, and nudity."

See more on the issue at:

Posted by Mark Mitchell | October 1, 2006 12:43 PM

if you happen to be reading these comments, give it a the article. Talk to Celia. It actually can't hurt to do so. Time to try something new.

Posted by BD | October 1, 2006 9:50 PM

As a former hard-core smoker, I can tell you one thing: most smokers won't quit cause you tell them they are going to get sick and die. if that worked, none of us would have started. disease works as an impetus when the smoker is directly effected health-wise. even then it's a crap shoot. i was told i was 1 cigarette away from emphysema two years before i finally stopped completely. i did the gum for years, i did the patch for longer. and finally, weaned down to a trickle of nic and happily medicated for my depression (did you know you can self-medicate chronic depression by smoking?) I finally stepped off into the abyss of non-smokerdom. it's been well over 3 years and i still occasionally have the urge, but time gives you strength to hold off. i'll never be free of it and i know that. my husband never smoked and has never understood. nonsmokers NEVER understand. bottom line: if someone wants to quit, then they will; until them you can't force anyone to something they don't want to do, especially when there is a chemical addicition at work.
ok, stepping off my soapbox.

Posted by BostonBear | October 2, 2006 6:35 AM

Never mind the health risks; smokers stink like hell! For a change, how about releasing reports on how kissing a smoker is like someone dumping the contents of an ashtray down your throat? Smokers may like to think they have a devil-may-care attitude towards their health and dying a horrible cancerous death(ooh, it's like dying from a glamourous cliff-side car crash, only more slowly...), but maybe by emphasising on the goddamn stink and hygiene issues that smoking causes will change that. Seriously, you'd think the stale, sour smell that cigarettes leave on hair and clothes would be enough of a deterrent. there should be a Don't Date A Stinker campaign.

Posted by az | October 2, 2006 6:48 AM

It's also a proven fact that sucking on the tailpipe of a car will kill a person, but that doesn't seem to stop every self-righteous non-smoker in Seattle from driving to and fro.
You could at least bitch about that if all of you are so concerned for the public health.

Posted by Sweet Jane | October 2, 2006 11:49 AM

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