HHS updates guideline to protect solid organ transplant patients

The HHS updated the guideline for assessing solid organ donors or recipients with potential HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infections.

In 2013, the U.S Public Health Service, a division of the HHS, issued a guideline for reducing transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infections through organ transplantation. Solid organ transplant refers to transplantation of internal organs that have a firm tissue consistency, such as the heart, liver, kidney and lungs. The new guideline released by the division update the 2013 recommendations based on several advances that have taken place in the solid organ transplantation arena.

The new guideline is based on advances in testing that allow healthcare providers to quickly determine whether a potential organ donor has an infection and advances in treatment for HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

The new guideline includes:

● Updated criteria for identifying donors at risk for undetected HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C infections.
● The removal of any specific term to characterize donors with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection risk factors.
● Universal nucleic acid testing for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus among organ donors.
● Universal monitoring of recipients for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections after a transplant.

"This guideline brings us one step closer to shortening the national transplant waiting list and saving more lives," said Adm. Brett P. Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for health at the HHS. "It reflects the impressive advances in testing and treatment over the last seven years and provides actionable steps that will protect transplant patients from HIV and hepatitis B and C viruses."

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