The USA to perform first ever HIV-positive donor liver transplant

22 February 2016
Organ transplant

John Hopkins is set to be the first hospital in the USA to conduct an HIV-positive to HIV-positive kidney transplant, and the first in the world to conduct a liver transplant between two HIV-positive people.

The United Network for Organ Sharing has approved John Hopkins to provide organ transplants for HIV-positive recipients from HIV-positive donors. The hospital was instrumental in drafting a bill that reverses a national ban on organ donations from people living with HIV (PLHIV).

As many as 122,000 people are on the waiting list for transplants in the USA, many of whom die while still waiting. Each year between 500 and 600 HIV-positive people could now donate their organs, saving an estimated 1,000 lives. HIV-negative people will also potentially benefit, as people living with HIV can receive organs from other HIV-positive people, reducing the overall waiting list.

Dorry Segev, associate professor at John Hopkins, said: “We are very thankful to Congress, Obama, and the entire transplant community for letting us use organs from HIV-positive patients to save lives, instead of throwing them away, as we had to do for so many years”.

This change in legislation follows the success of HIV-positive to HIV-positive kidney transplants in South Africa. The potential impact for PLHIV is huge as they often die more quickly than HIV-negative people on the waiting list.

AVERT congratulates the USA for this change in legislation that recognises ongoing medical advancements in HIV medicine and care.


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© Global Panorama