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HIV positive organ transplants will be performed at Johns Hopkins as the hospital aims to become the first in the U.S. to establish such a program.
Potential HIV positive organ donors have been overlooked in the U.S.. Concerns about the risks posed by HIV have hampered developments in the field. However, the program established at Johns Hopkins will perform organ transplants between donors who are HIV-positive and recipients who are HIV-positive.
The announcement crowns years of work in this direction. As HIV positive organ transplants will be performed at Johns Hopkins, waiting lists could see significant cuts. Moreover, the transplant rate in the U.S. could substantially increase.
Doctor Dorry Segev leads the program bringing HIV-positive donors and recipients together. Doctor Segev is also the director of the Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. According to Doctor Segev’s estimations, each year there are approximately 1,000 organs coming from 500 HIV-positive potential donors which go to waste.
“If these organs are given to HIV patients, it will be the largest increase in transplantation in the last decade”,
stated Doctor Dorry Segev.
2013 marked the year when President Obama put an end to the ban regarding organ transplant between two HIV-positive persons. The ban had been installed in 1988. By signing the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, President Obama restored legal status to the practice. Doctor Segev advocated for this necessary change and helped draft the HOPE Act. Building on the premises of the HOPE Act, Johns Hopkins aims to become the first hospital in the U.S. where HIV-positive organs are part of an encompassing organ transplant program.
Currently, there are 120,000 people on the waiting list. As the hospital received the final approval from the United Framework for Organ Sharing, HIV positive organ transplants will be performed at Johns Hopkins in national premiere.
The United Framework for Organ Sharing is a non-profit leading national efforts to manage the organ transplant network. As soon as an HIV positive recipient and matching HIV positive organ are found, the first organ transplant will take place.
The first phase of the program established at Johns Hopkins will include liver and kidney transplants. The HIV positive donors will be deceased. Provided the first organ transplant is performed with a kidney, this would be the first HIV-positive kidney transplant in the U.S. If the organ is a liver, it would be the first HIV-positive liver transplant worldwide.
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