The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has been the go ahead by the National Institute of Health to perform organ transplants between HIV Positive people

Although the United States government passed the HOPE (HIV Organ Policy Equity) Act in 2013 it’s taken until 2016 for the first hospital, Johns Hopkins, to be given approval by the National Institute of Health to go ahead with the procedures. The National Institutes of Health has spent that time working on the selection criteria and safeguarding.

Professor Dorry Segev, associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore said “This is an unbelievably exciting day for our hospital and our team, but more importantly for patients living with HIV and end-stage organ disease,” and that “For these individuals, this means a new chance at life.”

There are currently over 120,000 people on the organ waiting list in the United States, and with people with pre-existing conditions such as HIV considered a lower priority it makes it even more important that donations be allowed between HIV Positive people.

A study by the University of Pennsylvania put the number of potential HIV-positive donors at nearly 400 people, with their organs potentially saving 1,000 lives. This is a hugely important step for both organ donation and HIV Positive people, it is expected other centres of medical excellence will follow suit in coming months.

Emily Blumberg, a professor at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania told CNN: “The findings are significant because there are not enough organ donors in the United States to meet the needs of all of the patients who might benefit from life-saving organ transplants”.

“Some of the patients waiting for organs are infected with HIV but never make it to transplant because they either die while waiting or become too sick to be transplanted.”

The Johns Hopkins plans to make medical history by performing the first HIV Positive liver transplant, but the date of the surgery very much depends on timing, and available donors and recipients.

“Organ transplantation is actually even more important for patients with HIV, since they die on the waiting list even faster than their HIV-negative counterparts,” says Professor Segev “We are very thankful to … use organs from HIV-positive patients to save lives, instead of throwing them away, as we had to do for so many years.”


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