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Ban on Organs From HIV Donors Limits Availability

Annual pool of 500 to 600 organs would be available for transplant to HIV-positive recipients

FRIDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Reversing the ban on the transplantation of organs from deceased donors infected with HIV (HIVDD) would have a far-reaching public health impact due to the existence of a substantial pool of potential donors who could potentially donate to HIV-positive recipients, according to a study published online March 28 in the American Journal of Transplantation.

Brian J. Boyarsky, from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues estimated the potential impact of legalizing the transplantation of organs from HIVDD by quantifying the potential pool of such donors. Data were collected from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), which identified individuals infected with HIV whose deaths were compatible with donation, and the HIV Research Network (HIVRN), which examined CD4 count, plasma HIV-1 RNA levels, AIDS-defining illnesses, and causes of death in potential HIVDD. Data from the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) were used to evaluate donors who subsequently demonstrated unanticipated HIV infections.

The investigators found that deceased patients with HIV represent a potential of approximately 500 to 600 transplant candidates per year. An annual average of 534 potential HIVDD were identified from NIS data, with 63 kidney-only, 221 liver-only, and 250 multi-organ donors. A yearly average of 494 potential HIVDD were identified from HIVRN data. A yearly average of 20 donors with unanticipated HIV infection were identified from UNOS data.

"In the current era of HIV management, a legal ban on the use of these organs seems unwarranted and likely harmful," the authors write.

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