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Policy & Politics
Illinois House Passes Bill to Allow HIV-Positive Residents to Donate Organs to People Living With HIV

March 15, 2004

The Illinois House on Friday approved 95-22 a bill (HB 3857) that would allow HIV-positive residents to donate their organs to other residents living with HIV, the AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The bill, which awaits a vote in the state Senate, would make Illinois the first state to allow organ transplants between HIV-positive people. However, Illinois would continue to have to work with the United Network for Organ Sharing -- which manages the U.S. organ transplant system -- to revise rules that bar organ transplants that involve HIV/AIDS patients. Under current rules, organs from HIV-positive people are discarded. However, some physicians maintain that HIV-infected organs could help extend the lives of HIV-positive patients. Dr. Robert Murphy, a professor of infectious diseases at Northwestern University, said, "The original law was actually put in place for a very good reason," but he added that "nobody thought through the fact that an HIV[-positive] person might actually benefit from the infected organ." State Rep. Larry McKeon (D), who sponsored the bill and is HIV-positive, said that the legislation is "about saving lives and prolonging lives." However, some opponents of the bill said that the legislation could lead to the mistaken transplant of an HIV-infected organ into an HIV-negative individual (Skalski, AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 3/13).

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