The HIV Organ Policy Equity Act: Spreading HOPE

WAD2018I pushed down on the edge of the worn fabric of the auditorium seat and felt the metal frame push back on my fingertips. The white foam of the cushion peeked through the red threads of the dusty seat. Scanning across the auditorium, my eyes took note of the press personnel and cameras pointed towards the stage. I sat in awe during the live media briefing where my mentors announced that the first HIV-to-HIV liver transplant in the world was just successfully performed at our transplant center.

“In 2008, Dr. Elmi Muller was the first surgeon in the world to perform HIV positive-to-HIV positive deceased donor kidney transplantation.”

In 2008, Dr. Elmi Muller was the first surgeon in the world to perform HIV positive-to-HIV positive (HIV-to-HIV) deceased donor kidney transplantation. Recognizing the tremendous impact this could have in the US, my research group (Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation, ERGOT) wrote the landmark HIV Organ Policy Equity Act (HOPE Act), which reversed a long outdated ban on HIV-to-HIV organ transplantation, created in the 1980s. ERGOT shepherded the passage of the HOPE Act through Congressional and Presidential approval in November 2013.

“Signed into law November 2013 and implemented in November 2015, the HOPE Act opened the door for HIV-positive candidates to receive and donate organs.”

Today, HOPE transplants are taking place in the US, UK, and South Africa. For World’s AIDS Day 2018, here is what you need to know to spread HOPE:

1) Everyone can register as a donor, regardless of whether they are HIV+ or HIV-

2) People with HIV are able to receive lifesaving organ transplants

3) There is no separate registry for people living with HIV


For US:

For UK:

For SA:

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Komal Kumar

Komal Kumar obtained her MPH in Epidemiology & Biostatistics from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a researcher, public health advocate, and a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholar to South Africa.