People with HIV are living longer, healthier lives, thanks to major advances in their treatment and care. However, the HIV virus makes them more likely to eventually have organ failure – and while HIV positive people can receive organs from uninfected deceased donors they cannot receive transplants from HIV positive donors. That’s because to date, there’s a federal ban on organ donation from HIV-positive donors.
That might change soon. The HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act is an important step towards studying organ donation from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients. The Act, if passed, would permit these transplants in order to study outcomes for patients. What is currently unknown is the effect of transplanting a kidney infected with one strain of the virus into a patient with another strain. The legislation authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop guidelines to protect patients who choose to receive these transplants and to be able to revise that guidance as more outcomes are known.
The National Kidney Foundation supports the HOPE Act, which would make more transplants available to people living with HIV and improve their quality of life. The Act has been approved by the Senate and now awaits approval by the House. What do you think? How do you think the HOPE Act would affect the lives of people with HIV who need a transplant? If you support this legislation you can email your Representatives asking them to vote yes on this bill through our Advocacy Center.