A man smoking a cigarette Like smoking didn’t cause much harm to the one’s indulging in it and perhaps even to those who are next to the one smoking…there’s yet one more damage causing degree that smoking has just attained. According to AIDS researchers, smoking may also increase the risk of infection with HIV, the AIDS causing virus.

In a review of studies that looked at the connection between smoking and HIV, British doctors said five of the six studies they analyzed showed smokers had a greater chance of becoming infected.

Nine of 10 other studies in the review that tracked the progression from HIV to AIDS found no link with smoking.

Dr Andrew Furber, of the South East Sheffield Primary Care Trust said, “The studies identified in this systematic review indicate that while smoking might be independently associated with acquiring HIV infection, it does not appear to be related to progression to AIDS.”

Furber and his colleagues, who reported the findings in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, said that tobacco smoke may increase vulnerability to HIV infection by modifying a variety of immune system responses.

Research has revealed that smoking is a leading cause of preventable death. It increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, respiratory problems, lung and other types of cancer.

The researchers suggest in the study that public health measures that encourage smokers to quit could also improve the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

About 40 million people around the world are living with HIV/AIDS. Nearly 5 million were newly infected in 2005 and more than 3 million adults and children died of AIDS in the same year.