Health Officials Push To Allow Organ Donation From People With HIV
Federal health officials and other experts are requesting the elimination of an amendment to the National Organ Transplant Act that prohibits transplants from HIV-positive donors, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times, the ban was passed in 1988 at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, when HIV infection was considered lethal. However, HIV-positive individuals now are living long enough to experience kidney and liver problems, and they are being added to long organ-donor waiting lists.
More than 110,000 U.S. residents are awaiting transplants, and they often can wait for years because of donor-organ shortages.
Dorry Segev, transplant surgery director of clinical research at Johns Hopkins University, co-authored a study that found that 500 to 600 HIV infected organs would be available annually if the law was changed. "Every HIV infected [organ] we use is a new organ that takes one more person off the list," Segev said.
Views From Proponents, Opponents
Some health authorities argue that HIV-infected organs should be available to people who are not HIV-positive, noting that HIV is now a treatable disease and contracting the infection might be preferable to kidney or liver failure.
However, opponents fear that donors could have a tougher strain of HIV, which could be more damaging to the recipient.
CDC is expected to issue new guidelines that will encourage research into transplanting HIV-positive organs into HIV-positive people (Belluck, New York Times, 4/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.