Surgeons perform kidney transplant from donor living with HIV

Stock image  Pixabay

Stock image Pixabay

Doctors in the U.S. have successfully transplanted a kidney donated by one person living with HIV to another who was in need of the organ.

Ms Martinez initially wanted to donate the kidney to a friend, but after that friend died, she pursued her wish to be an organ donor, Johns Hopkins said.

However, this transplant changes conventional perception and is a boon to the HIV-positive patients that are looking for organ transplants.

But newer HIV medications are safer and more effective, making the risks associated with these sorts of live donor transplants comparable between people with or without the virus, he added in a statement.

This has allowed over 100 kidney and liver transplants from deceased HIV-positive donors within the last three years, reports the AP, with no complications arising from pairs with different strains of the virus-an original concern.

By not having to rely exclusively on organs from the deceased, doctors may now have a larger number of kidneys available for transplant.

"For us, this is not only a celebration of transplantation, but a celebration of the progress of HIV care", said Dr. Dorry Segev, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Johns Hopkins Medicine confirmed that both Martinez and the recipient are in stable condition and recovering well.

"This is the first time someone living with HIV has been allowed to donate a kidney, ever, in the world", Segev said in a release.

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Having just one kidney is usually extremely unsafe for an HIV positive person as it puts them at risk of infections.

Until now, HIV-positive patients could receive organs from dead HIV-positive patients but not from anyone living with the virus.

The patients were "incredibly grateful for this gift and now we just monitor for the long term outcomes", Dr Durand said.

"The doors are now open for people living with HIV to become kidney donors", said Dr Segev.

"Organ transplantation is critical for patients with HIV, who die on the waiting list even faster than their HIV-negative counterparts", Segev said in a statement. But, as of March 8, 221 registrants have indicated they would be willing to accept a kidney or liver from a donor who has HIV.

Dr. Christine Durand, another Johns Hopkins surgeon involved in the organ transplant, encouraged those living with HIV to sign their organ donor cards and contact their local transplant center if they're interested in living donation.

"That's one less person waiting for a limited resource", Desai said. Usually when society thinks of people living with HIV, they think to people from the 1980s. "That helps everybody on the list". Then last summer she learned that an HIV-positive friend needed a transplant, and tracked down Segev to ask if she could donate. She made a decision to move forward with the surgery in his honor and donate to a stranger in need.

"Losing somebody to both HIV and kidney disease was very hard, but my late friend was very excited to embark on this journey together", Martinez said Thursday. "I've never been surer of anything".

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