People who die after being infected with HIV can be a potential source for transplantation with more than 400 annual donors in the United States. for the benefit of people who got the infection but need organs to live, according to researchers who explained there would be an important benefit for non-infected patients also on the waiting-list.
The research assessed the level of quality that potential organs from HIV-infected deceased donors have. They discovered for example that HIV-associated kidney disease would need to be evaluated for future kidney donation while in the case of the livers they revealed to be of better transplant quality.
Until recently, explain the authors who published their results in the American Journal of Transplantation, HIV-infected patients were labeled ineligible to get an organ transplant, but they can now access the organs if their body has a “good renal and liver outcomes” compared with remaining on the list.
In spite of this, the US disparity between the numbers of patients on the waiting list and available organs “can disproportionately affect HIV-infected patients”. This group of patients needing organs are more likely to die on the list than those who are HIV-negative.
America’s HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act was signed into law in November of 2013 to allow research into organ donations from one person with HIV to another.
“The findings are significant because there are not enough organ donors in the US to meet the needs of all of the patients who might benefit from life-saving organ transplants”, said Dr. Emily Blumberg, the senior author of the study and professor in infectious diseases at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
“Some of the patients waiting for organsare infected with HIV but never make it to transplant because they either die while waiting or become too sick to be transplanted. HIV patients who undergo transplantation generally do well, so it is important to continue to look for ways to improve access to transplantation for them”, she said.
The risk of HIV transmission has made illegal the donation to uninfected people, but some patients could still benefit from organ supply by turning to HIV-infected deceased donors. Expanding the options for people who are already infected would cut the demand on organs offered by HIV-free donors.
Approximately 123,000 people are currently waiting for an organ on the US list for transplants. The wait is long. For example, for almost half of last year just 11,844 people got organ transplants.
Image Source: The ODRC