July 19, 2013
The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee has approved H.R. 698, the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which -- if approved by the full House -- would lift a ban on HIV-infected organ donation to HIV-infected recipients. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) sponsored the bill, which the U.S. Senate passed in June.
If the HOPE Act becomes law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Organ Procurement Transplant Network (OPTN) would develop and implement research standards for HIV-infected organ transplants. If research established that positive-to-positive transplantation did not endanger the safety of the organ transplantation network, the HHS Secretary would be able to permit the transplants. The bill also would require the Secretary to direct OPTN to develop positive-to-positive transplantation standards that would sustain the organ transplant networks safety.
Implementation of the HOPE Act could shorten transplantation wait times for both HIV-infected and uninfected people. More than 100,000 U.S. residents currently are waiting for transplants; each year 50,000 more applicants join the waiting list. Positive-to-positive transplantation could save approximately 1,000 HIV-infected people waiting for liver and kidney transplants each year.
In 2011, CDC recommended research on positive-to-positive transplantation. The bill also has the support of the United Network for Organ Sharing and more than 40 other patient and medical advocacy organizations.