Lambda Legal Defense Fund Files Complaint on Behalf of HIV-Positive Veteran Denied Liver Transplant
April 29, 2004
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund on Tuesday said it has filed a complaint with the Iowa City VA Medical Center on behalf of an HIV-positive Illinois veteran who was denied consideration for a liver transplant, the Des Moines Register reports. Gideon Green, who has end-stage liver disease, said he should be evaluated to determine if he is a suitable candidate for a transplant, which doctors have told him is "his only treatment option," according to the Register. However, Department of Veterans Affairs policy prohibits performing transplants on HIV-positive people, according to VA spokesperson Jo Schuda, the Register reports. Schuda added that the department is considering changing the policy based on new research that demonstrates HIV-positive people may have "greater transplant success than previously thought," according to the Register (Jordan, Des Moines Register, 4/28). Attitudes about organ transplants for HIV-positive people have been changing since the mid-1990s, when advances in antiretroviral drug therapy began to help HIV/AIDS patients live longer, healthier lives. Antiretroviral drug treatment can restore patients' immune systems enough to allow them to withstand transplants and the immune-suppressing drugs that prevent the rejection of new organs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/1).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.