Statement from HIVMA Chair Michael Horberg, MD, MAS, FIDSA
Bipartisan legislation introduced today by members of Congress is an important step forward in exploring the use of HIV‐infected organ donation as a potentially lifesaving measure for people living with HIV. As HIV physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals on the frontlines of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, we strongly support the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act and applaud the bill’s bipartisan co-sponsors—Sens. Barbara Boxer, Tom Coburn, Rand Paul, Tammy Baldwin, and Rep. Lois Capps—for their leadership on this issue.
The legislation would update federal law to reflect the current medical understanding of HIV/AIDS and allow for the scientific research needed to fully evaluate HIV‐infected organ donation to HIV‐infected patients. For transplant candidates infected with HIV, deceased donors who are also infected with HIV may represent a unique source of organs that researchers estimate could potentially save the lives of approximately 1,000 HIV‐infected patients with liver and kidney failure each year. In addition to helping increase access to transplants for HIV-infected patients, the HOPE Act, if passed and signed into law, also has the potential to reduce deaths among those who are on transplant waiting lists and help save Medicare costs, while maintaining provisions that protect public health.
HIV infection is no longer a contraindication for organ transplantation, and a transplant can be the best clinical option for many patients living with HIV who are facing end‐stage organ failure—if access to a transplant is available in time. The HOPE Act marks an important step in addressing this issue, and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) looks forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to move the bill forward.
The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) is the professional home for more than 5,000 physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. Nested within the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIVMA promotes quality in HIV care and advocates policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic informed by science and social justice. For more information, visit www.hivma.org.
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