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Organ Transplants From HIV-Infected Donors

April 18, 2011

Paul E. Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, M.D., is director of the HIV Program and Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

On the heels of last month's report of HIV transmission from an organ donor -- covered here in Journal Watch -- comes this remarkable article in The New York Times about lifting the ban on organ donation from donors known to be HIV positive.

Naturally, the first group of patients slated to receive these HIV positive organs would have HIV themselves.

But the article goes further:

But some experts, including Dr. Segev and Dr. Kuehnert, say they can foresee such transplants even for H.I.V.-negative patients because contracting H.I.V. would be preferable to kidney or liver failure.

"I don't want to minimize living with H.I.V, but it is a medically treatable disease now," said Charlie Alexander, president of the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the country's organ transplant system. "In certain cases, I think it would be medically appropriate."

If ever there were proof that HIV is now a highly-treatable condition, I'd say this could be Exhibit One.

Paul Sax is Clinical Director of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital. His blog HIV and ID Observations is part of Journal Watch, where he is Editor-in-Chief of Journal Watch AIDS Clinical Care.

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This article was provided by Journal Watch. Journal Watch is a publication of the Massachusetts Medical Society.
 

 

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