Organ transplants between HIV-positive patients will begin as soon as the candidates are available, surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medical Center said.

Advertisement

Dr. Dorry Segev, an associate professor at the university’s medical school who spent years advocating for the surgery, was interviewed by NPR after the hospital received their final approval.

Imagine now we take hundreds or maybe thousands of people off of the list, then everybody behind them moves forward. So people with HIV are benefited directly and everybody else on the list is benefited indirectly. And we’re all very excited to get started.

Dr. Segev estimates that more than 1,000 lives could be saved thanks to the new law. In 2013, he helped write the bill that President Obama would eventually sign—the HOPE Act. Almost 25 years earlier, a congressional board ruled that HIV-positive organs were ineligible for transplant surgeries.

Advertisement

One of the major risks of HIV-positive transplant surgeries is the possibility of superinfection—infecting a more aggressive strain of the virus into the recipient. But Segev says patients will be matched with donors based on the types of medications taken to control the virus in addition to the “other compatibilities we consider in a transplant.”

I’m thrilled that this is possible. I’m thrilled that Congress was receptive to this, that President Obama signed the bill. I’m thrilled that we are now able to do this for people. But I’m most thrilled that now patients with HIV on the waiting list will have a better chance at life.


Image via Getty.

Contact the author at jenmem@jezebel.com.