Congress has passed legislation to end the federal ban on the transplantation of organs from deceased HIV-positive donors to patients with HIV. The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) worked closely with Congress and other organizations to promote the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act. This milestone legislation could add up to 600 organs per year for HIV-infected transplant candidates and expand the total pool of available organs.
Because the HOPE Act will pave the way for research into positive-to-positive transplants, patients with HIV should one day get faster access to a new supply of organs. While HIV is no longer a death sentence, kidney and liver failure is now a leading cause of death of HIV-positive patients.
"This legislation will preserve valuable organs and save lives by establishing guidelines for HIV+ to HIV+ transplants," said Michelle Josephson, MD, who leads the ASN Transplant Advisory Group.
Other patients on the transplant list will also benefit from expanding the pool of available organs. "The HOPE Act could reduce waiting times for a life-saving transplant, which is why ASN so passionately advocated its passage," said ASN President Sharon Moe, MD, FASN.
Shamey Cramer, a patient advocate who has been living with HIV for nearly 30 years and was instrumental in advocacy efforts, notes the law will help all patients, both with and without HIV. "The HOPE Act really does give new hope to all patients who are waiting for the gift of life."
While the HOPE Act does not directly affect federal spending, it has the potential to decrease Medicare spending by providing more opportunities for patients to move off dialysis and receive a kidney transplant.
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