March 25, 2013
The Senate Health Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, a bill that would lift the ban on medical research on HIV-infected organs. Committee approval of the bill is the first step toward changing US policy to allow organ donation between HIV-infected people, if future research confirms the safety of such procedures. For the HOPE Act to become a law, the full US Senate must first vote to pass the bill. The HOPE Act has bipartisan support from sponsoring senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
The bill's sponsors stated that passing the HOPE Act will help to remove stigma linked to HIV/AIDS and will speed up the organ transplant process for HIV-infected people, saving both lives and healthcare costs. The American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the American Medical Association support passage of the HOPE Act. According to Dr. John Fangman, medical director of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, the HOPE Act ensures that organ transplant policy will reflect advances in medical science rather than outdated stereotypes.