Futurism previously reported that the first organ transplant between a HIV+ donor and recipient was about to take place. Now, we are happy to report that this operation has taken place and proved to be successful.
John Hopkins successfully conducted a liver and kidney transplant between a HIV positive donor and HIV positive recipients. Both organs came from the same deceased donor, and all three individuals (the donor and two recipients) are to remain anonymous.
The kidney recipient has been living with HIV for more than 30 years, suffers from hypertension and autoimmune problems, and had been on dialysis. He is now at home, feeling completely fine after the transplant.
The liver went to a person who suffered from hepatitis C, which damaged his liver beyond repair. The hepatitis was cured, but the liver damage had been done. The recipient has been HIV positive for more than 25 years. He’s expected to be released from the hospital in a few days.
Before 2013, HIV positive patients could not donate their organs to anyone, including to other HIV positive patients. HIV positive recipients had to wait for HIV negative organs. This increased the mortality rate of HIV positives in the waiting list, and allowed as much as 500-600 organs to be wasted each year.
It was 1980s legislation that banned these donations. In 2013, the legislation was archaic and outdated, as we now know how this virus functions and is transmitted. Fortunately, Obama signed the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, allowing HIV positive people to donate.
Why the long wait after the law was passed for the transplants to occur? In the two years since the the passing of the law, the National Institutes of Health worked with experts to develop the criteria and safeguards doctors would need to follow, since these are still HIV infected organs.
Professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dorry Segev said: ‘Somebody who doesn’t have HIV who is on the waiting list, there may be someone with HIV in front of them who is taken off the list because they’ve received an HIV-positive organ and then they can move ahead. So this benefits everybody.’
Indeed, it is a fresh start in more ways than one.