Doctors Urge HIV-Positive Organ Transplants Be ConsideredAPRIL 14, 2011
Area doctors are among those calling for a reversal in a decades-old federal law that prohibits HIV-positive people from donating organs. New treatments have made HIV a chronic disease and patients are living long enough to need kidney and liver transplants for disorders related to their diagnosis or its treatment. A new study showed that up to 600 new donations could occur per year if HIV-positive people were allowed to donate to other infected people. In an interview with WHYY Radio, Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, said with thousands of people dying while waiting for transplants every year, the motivations for expanding the pool of available organs are obvious. Clinical trials for patients with end-stage organ failure who understand the risks of accepting an infected organ make sense. "The problem is whether those organs will truly be as good for HIV-positive recipients as non-infected organs," Halpern said. "And that's why we need more study."