In a revolutionary development in the field of health care, a deceased HIV donor's kidney and liver have been transplanted to two separate HIV infected recipients. This medical success has brought hope to the lives of thousands of patients across the United States who have been painstakingly waiting for donated organs for years.
The first-of-its-kind surgery was performed at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, headed by Dr. Dorry Segev and his team. As informed by the doctors, the first patient who received the kidney had been HIV infected for the last 30 years, and post the successful surgery, has now been discharged from the hospital and is recovering at home.
The second patient, who received the donated liver is still recuperating in hospital, but is in a stable condition and will be discharged soon. The patient has been living with HIV for more than 25 years and got liver damaged due to Hepatitis C.
The identity of the donor and the recipients have not been revealed.
Up until 2013, organ donation from HIV infected patients was barred in America. People infected with HIV could be the recipient, but could not be the donors. However, with the advance in research on Human Immuno Virus over decades, and the success of anti-viral drugs in such cases, the life expectancy of an HIV infected person has increased manifold.
According to estimates, 122,000 patients are currently on the organ waiting list and a new name is listed every 10 minutes. Due to the scarcity of organ donors, only one in four patients get an organ. Sadly, many a times, death arrives before an organ does.
Now that HIV donors are allowed to donate, about 500 additional organ donors or more can be gained every year, which may help in donating 1,000 organs on an average, annually.
The success of this medical advancement partly goes to Congress for passing the HIV Organ Policy Equality Act of 2013 (HOPE Act) signed by President Barack Obama, after which the research began studying organ donation from one HIV person to another. Under this act, the transplant involves HIV donor and HIV recipient only.
This in itself is a colossal achievement, as hundreds of HIV-infected people can be saved from life threatening diseases by means of organ transplant are given a second chance at leading a healthier and happier life.