AMA: Amend HIV transplant law

1,000 people a year could be saved

The American Medical Association recently voted to support amending a federal law that bars clinical research of HIV-infected organ donation, as a potentially lifesaving measure for people living with HIV infection.

Advances in the medical management of HIV infection coupled with improvements in transplant outcomes could make organ transplantation a viable clinical option for many HIV-infected patients. Despite these scientific advances, the Federal National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 precludes donations of HIV-infected organs, thereby prohibiting investigational studies on a source of organs for HIV-infected patients.

Research is needed to fully evaluate the clinical risks and benefits of organ transplantation between HIV-infected individuals," said AMA Board Member Ardis D. Hoven, M.D. "The new policy adopted extends the AMA's support for a change in federal law that will permit the necessary scientific investigation."

It is estimated that there are approximately 500-600 potential HIV-infected kidney and liver donors per year in the United States. Organs from these donors have the potential to save the lives of approximately 1,000 HIV-infected patients each year.

The new policy supporting research on organ transplantation between HIV-infected individuals was adopted today at the AMA's semi-annual policy making meeting in New Orleans.