Baltimore Sun Examines Increasing Acceptance of Organ Transplants For HIV-Positive Individuals
The Baltimore Sun yesterday examined how hospitals are increasingly accepting that organ transplants for HIV-positive individuals are feasible and ethical. Attitudes about transplants for HIV-positive people have been changing since the mid-1990s, when advances in antiretroviral drug therapy began to help HIV/AIDS patients live longer, healthier lives. The treatment can restore patients' immune systems enough to allow them to withstand transplants and the immune-suppressing drugs that prevent the rejection of new organs, according to the Sun. Dr. Stephen Bartlett, a surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center who has performed a kidney transplant on an HIV-positive patient, said that the question regarding transplants for HIV-positive patients is now "whether we can ethically exclude these patients." Although organ transplants for HIV-positive people are becoming increasingly accepted, most hospitals still do not accept HIV-positive patients into their transplant programs, the Sun reports. Dr. John Conte, head of the heart transplant program at Johns Hopkins University, said that such transplants are still "risky" and that they should be limited to clinical trials until more information is available (Baltimore Sun, 6/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.