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Nearly 400 HIV-Positive Potential Organ Donors in U.S.

Although ban was lifted on such surgeries in 2013, none has taken place, researchers say

THURSDAY, May 14, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 400 HIV-positive potential organ donors in the United States could donate organs each year to HIV-positive people waiting for transplants, according to a new study published online May 14 in the American Journal of Transplantation.

Currently, about 123,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in the United States. Fewer than 12,000 people received organ transplants between January and May 2014, according to a University of Pennsylvania news release.

In November 2013, a law called the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act (HOPE Act) lifted the ban on organ donations from one HIV-positive person to another. It remains illegal to transplant organs from HIV-positive people to patients without HIV. No known organ transplants from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients have taken place since the HOPE Act took effect, according to the researchers.

"The National Institutes of Health are writing guidelines to oversee implementation of the HOPE Act, so we expect to see the first transplants occur sometime thereafter," lead author Aaron Richterman, of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, said in the news release.

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