Randomized Trial of a Web-Based Tobacco Treatment and Online Community Support for People With HIV Attempting to Quit Smoking Cigarettes

Jonathan Shuter, Geetanjali Chander, Amanda L. Graham, Ryung S. Kim, Cassandra A. Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background:Persons with HIV (PWH) in the United States (US) smoke cigarettes at approximately triple the rate of the general adult population and are less successful in their quit attempts than other smokers. This randomized trial tested whether a novel web-based cessation program for PWH yielded higher cigarette quit rates compared with a control program.Setting:Two urban HIV care sites in NYC and Baltimore.Methods:Between 2016 and 2020, 506 PWH were randomized to either Positively Smoke Free on the Web (PSFW+; N = 255), a multimodal platform, interactive web intervention hosted within an online social network to support quitting among PWH who smoke, and an attention-matched web-based control intervention (American Heart Association Getting Healthy; N = 251). All participants were offered 12 weeks of nicotine patch. Our primary outcome was biochemically confirmed exhaled carbon monoxide < 10 parts per million (ppm) 7-day point prevalence abstinence at 6 months.Results:Participants were middle-aged (mean 50.2 years; range 23-73 years), 57% male, 19% Latinx, 83% Black, and 13% White. At 6 months, a significantly greater percentage of PSFW+ participants (14.9%) achieved biochemically confirmed 7-day point prevalence abstinence in intent-to-treat analysis compared with 8.8% of American Heart Association Getting Healthy participants [odds ratio =1.82 (95% confidence interval =1.04 to 3.18), P = 0.03].Conclusions:PSFW+ is a promising cessation intervention composed of empirically tested content and real-time social support through an online social network that was found to promote abstinence. This digital approach has broad reach and scalability, can be easily integrated into comprehensive HIV care, and represents an advance in the fight against tobacco use among PWH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • HIV
  • cigarette
  • internet
  • smoking
  • social network
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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