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article imageNew HIV organ donation program to begin

By Tim Sandle     Feb 11, 2016 in Health
New York - During the 1980s, a ban was put in place in the U.S., barring HIV positive people from donating or receiving organs. A recent study has concluded that organs from those with HIV can be safely donated.
At the height of the HIV crisis (when no drugs were available to protect those infected) during the 1980s, the U.S. Congress amended the National Organ Transplant Act to prevent any person with HIV from donating or, more controversially, receiving an organ. In 2013, the U.S. government altered the bill and allowed, in principle, for HIV patients to donate organs. Following this, Barack Obama moved the situation forward further by signing the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, which allowed the possibility of the HIV-to-HIV transplantation of tissues.
Despite the amendment to the bill, no organ register for HIV positive patients was established. This has since changed, with John Hopkins University establishing such a program. This followed approval from the U.S. United Network for Organ Sharing.
Organ donation describes the donation of either biological tissue or an organ, taken from the human body from a living or dead person, and transplanting this into a living recipient in. Transplantable organs and tissues are removed in a surgical procedure. This happens after the donor's medical and social history has been examined. Before transplant, tests are undertaken to determine if the recipient is compatible.
Commenting on the decision, Professor Dorry Segev, who works at John Hopkins, told Bioscience Technology: “This is an unbelievably exciting day for our hospital and our team, but more importantly for our patients living with HIV and end-stage organ diseases. For these individuals, it means a new chance at life.”
The news has been welcomed by advocacy groups. Many people who are ill with HIV are more likely to require an organ donation than those who do not have the condition.
In related transplant news, the record holder for longest living heart recipient died this week. This was a British man called John McCafferty. He received his heart on 20 October 1982 and died aged 73, 33 years after the operation.
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