Johns Hopkins Hospital Set To Perform First Organ Transplant Between HIV-Positive Patients; What Took So Long?

Medical Daily
The monumental procedures could save hundreds of lives each year.  Public Domain/Pixabay
This month, Johns Hopkins Hospital was approved to be the site for the first organ transplant between HIV-positive patients to be conducted in the United States. The decision comes three years after the passage of the 2013 HOPE Act, a bill that made it possible for HIV-positive individuals to donate organs, which raises the question — what took so long?

The monumental operation is set to take place as soon as a viable organ becomes available and a recipient is identified and prepared, Fox News reported. "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. For these individuals, this means a new chance at life," said Dorry Segev, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a recent statement.

HIV-positive patients are living longer than ever before, thanks to the help of antiretroviral drug therapy. Unfortunately, one result of longer life is more time to develop severe organ problems. Until 2013, organ transplants between two HIV-positive patients in the U.S. were not legal and any organ harvested from an HIV-positive patient was required to be thrown away. This meant that such patients could only receive organs from HIV-negative donors, further adding to the already long organ waiting list. What’s more, according to Segev, organ transplants are especially important for HIV-positive patients because they die on the waiting list “faster than their HIV-negative counterparts.” Continue reading
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