Positively quitting…you’ll be glad you did!

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poz quitIn 2010, Queensland Positive People (QPP) established the Positively Quitting program to provide quit smoking support for people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Queensland.

As a reminder, Positively Quitting resources can be ordered or downloaded from: www.qpp.org.au/living-hiv-staying-healthy/support-quit-smoking  Aside from the quit support booklet and card, a key component of this program is quit therapy reimbursement provided by QPP, for all PLHIV accessing their HIV-care in Queensland.  The general policy on reimbursement is up to $250 per person per annum – the full policy is upon the reimbursement application form found on above link.

At that time when QPP launched the program in 2010 we conducted a large state-wide survey of 326 PLHIV which found that 48% of respondents smoked, many above 20 cigarettes per day.  This figure was around 2 to 3 times higher than the general population smoking prevalence.  As it is now 5 years since the launch of Positively Quitting, it is time to evaluate the impact of the program on smoking rates among PLHIV in Queensland and to determine what current and future strategies and resources are required to help PLHIV to quit smoking.  This time, however, we are re-surveying both smokers and non-smokers, as we would like to gain a picture of those PLHIV who have never smoked and those who have quit, as well as current smokers.  Thus, we welcome all PLHIV in Queensland whether you currently smoke, or not, to participate in our evaluation survey.

Although this is our own evaluation, QPP are also currently collaborating with the University of Queensland’s School of Public Health in the area of smoking cessation research, in the hope to develop novel new smoking support resources for PLHIV.  Thus this survey also seeks to determine respondent interest in participating in future research projects on this topic conducted by UQ in association with QPP.  The data collected in this survey is treated as anonymous, but may be shared with UQ for these research purposes.  No identifying information will be used, unless via your expressed consent.

The survey is ONLY open to people living with HIV who access their HIV-care in Queensland.  We encourage your early participation in the survey, although the survey will run for a number of months.  The expected completion time of the survey online is approximately 5 minutes, depending on answers given.

You may notice a paper version of this survey (with a reply paid envelope) at your HIV clinic or service.  If you prefer, you may complete the paper version and kindly mail it back to QPP  – or – hand in your completed survey to the clinic reception or service where you picked it up from (sealed within your envelope provided).  Please choose only ONE survey method – i.e. either the online survey link (below), or ask for a paper copy (and reply paid envelope) from your HIV clinic or service, or contact QPP toll free on 1800 636 241.

To participate in the online survey please click on the following link (or copy the URL into your browser):  www.surveymonkey.com/r/QPPsmoking

We greatly appreciate your input into this survey – whether you smoke or not – all answers are highly valued and important to us.  Please consider sending this article and survey link to you HIV-positive peers as well.  Your support is greatly appreciated, and we hope your response will assist QPP to inform future development of our quit smoking support programs.

…on a final note, for those of you who do smoke, we know that quitting is not easy, and so you have our full support to help you when you are ready to quit.  Remember too, it can take a few attempts to quit – the trick is to keep giving it a go until you succeed, it really does get easier!…Imagine the quality of life you could have, and extra money in your pocket, if you quit…you’ll be glad you did!