Johns Hopkins is first in US to offer HIV-positive to HIV-positive organ transplants

Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins is the first hospital in the United States to receive approval from the United Network for Organ Sharing to perform HIV-positive to HIV-positive organ transplants.

With this approval, Johns Hopkins surgeons will be the first in the United States to perform an HIV-positive kidney transplant and first in the world to do an HIV-positive liver transplant. Physicians in South Africa have performed HIV-positive kidney transplants.

The approval is tied to a bill signed by President Barack Obama in 2013 allowing HIV-positive people to donate their organs. Dorry Segev, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, helped draft the 2013 HOPE Act.

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"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," he said. "For these individuals, this means a new chance at life."

Dr. Segev estimates that roughly 500 HIV-positive potential organ donors each year had organs that could have saved 1,000 people, but legal regulations prevented physicians from giving organs from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive patients.

"We are very thankful to Congress, Obama, and the entire transplant community for letting us use organs from HIV-positive patients to save lives, instead of throwing them away, as we had to do for so many years," Dr. Segev said.

More articles on organ transplants:
Fourth UPMC patient with mold infection dies after outbreak
2015 was record year for transplant numbers in the US
Tampa General cuts ties with troubled organ donation bank

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