Bans Bans Bans!!! We have bans for a lot of things in this country, but one is about to be lifted. The Senate Heath Education and Pensions Committee have approved the HOPE Act, also known as the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act. The act would lift the federal ban on transplanting HIV positive organs to HIV positive recipients.
The HOPE Act would instruct the Department of Health and Human Service to make up a strategy about transplanting HIV positive organs into HIV positive recipients. This plan would decrease the wait time on people that were listed as HIV positive and negative. Over 40 advocacy groups have endorsed this bill, including the United Network for Organ Sharing.
This could save over 1000 lives. We lifted the ban of Don't Ask Don't Tell, HIV Organ Donating, etc.
Comment by: Sue Saltmarsh
Thu., Apr. 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm EDT Hey, Justin - a HOPE Act update! In the last week, it's gained eight co-sponsors, four in each chamber, including two Republicans! Always good to have bi[artisan support!
Comment by: Sue Saltmarsh
Thu., Apr. 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm EDT
I hate to rain on Justin's parade, but there are some steps in the legislative process that have to happen before the HOPE Act is law.
Justin is right about the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee passing its version of S. 330, the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act on Wednesday, March 20. However, this is just the first step in what could be a long, uphill battle. The companion bill in the House, H.R. 698, has been assigned to both the House Energy and Commerce Committee's sub-committee on health and the Judiciary Committee, one that is particularly hard to get past. In order for the HOPE Act to become law, it would have to be passed by both the Senate and the House, something that at present is given a 2% chance of happening in the House.
This is yet another one of those instances where the need for grassroots advocacy is great, especially if you have Republican legislators. With the current anti-funding atmosphere, the research into HIV-positive transplants that would be codified in the law would likely not happen due to funding cuts. SO not only do we need to advocate for the idea of allowing transplants between positive people, but we also need to demand funding for the research that would make it safe.
If you're interested in keeping track of HIV-related legislation that's moving through Congress, you can find out the latest developments in the "Legislation Watch" section of every weekly Positively Aware E-News update. There are currently 16 bills in the House and six in the Senate that are relevant to the HIV and/or LGBT communities. I hope to continue to report on the HOPE Act's progress and thanks Justin for bringing it to the community's attention!
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Justin B. Terry-Smith, M.P.H., may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own website, and he's even on YouTube. He is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of "Justin's HIV Journal," a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith, and their son, Lundyn. Presently, Justin is working toward earning his doctorate in public health. He welcomes your questions.
(Photo credit: Don Harris)
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