Organs from HIV Patients a Possibility for Transplants........
HOUSTON - If you needed a life saving transplant, would you accept an organ from someone who is HIV positive?
It's more than just a hypothetical. It's an option the Centers for Disease Control are taking a close look at. If it becomes possible to receive an organ from someone who is HIV positive, it would only be available for someone who also has HIV.
This is being considered for a couple of reasons:
-- People who are HIV positive are living longer thanks to medication.
-- There is a GREAT need for organs.
Every 10 minutes, someone new is added to the organ transplant waiting list. Many of those people are HIV positive. Everyday, 18 people die while waiting for an organ to become available.
Ford Stuart was diagnosed with the virus 18 years ago. Would he be willing to take an organ from someone who is HIV positive?
"Definitely. Because of the new drugs that are out and you can control the HIV infection a lot more than you could several years ago. I think that should be an option,” said Stuart. “In the past, we have been so stigmatized because we were HIV positive. It would just be another positive re-enforcement that we are being accepted into society as individuals."
Stuart would also like to be an organ donor.
"People like me, who are HIV positive, we don't have that opportunity. When I die I would like to be able to. If I have healthy body parts that could be donated, I would like someone to be able to receive them" said Stuart.
Right now, it's against the law for someone who is HIV positive to donate organs. By some estimates, someone who receives an organ from an HIV positive person could go on to live another few decades.
Legacy Community Health Services has been treating HIV patients in Houston since the 1980s. They're glad to know health experts are asking about HIV positive organ donors.
"That is now a question that deserves debate because people living with HIV are living longer and it's become a manageable disease," said Randall Ellis with Legacy Community Health Services.
Ellis said the law that bans HIV positive people from donating their organs is outdated.
"It was a federal law put into place more than 20 years ago and times have changed, the epidemic has changed, the way we treat the disease has changed. People live long lives, lives just as long as anyone else,” he said. “As we know the medications that people take to combat HIV have a devastating effect on livers, on kidneys. So opening this door to let them know that there is hope beyond the medications that wrecked their bodies is good."
More than 100,000 Americans are awaiting organ transplants. The CDC is in the process of issuing new guidelines that would encourage, at least, research on transplanting HIV positive patients with organs from HIV positive donors. That would require the ban on HIV positive donors to be lifted.
Re: Organs from HIV Patients a Possibility for Transplants........
If we could just find a way to fight HIV, and WIN, not just stem the tide, then I believe this would be feasible, but otherwise, it's just a way to spread the virus further; and they are assuming that the recipient of the donation would actually act responsibly about his or her sexual exploits after the fact.