On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed the HOPE Act, legislation that would end the federal ban on research into organ donations from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients. The HOPE Act, which stands for HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, would pave the way for growing the number of healthy and available organ transplants for people living with HIV/AIDS. According to recent figures, there are more than 100,000 people waiting for organ-transplants in the United States, and nearly 50,000 people are added to that list each year. However, due to shortages and other barriers, less than 30% of patients receive a life-saving organ.
In the United States, organ donations from HIV-positive people are still banned under the Organ Transplant Amendments Act of 1988, an amendment that was created from now-outdated science and research. Should the Hope Act become law, it could potentially increase the number of available organs by nearly 600 per year.
The HOPE Act has been a bipartisan measure and is sponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rand Paul (R-KY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Carl Levin (D-MI).
In addition, many medical organizations and advocacy groups support the legislation as well, including the American Medical Association, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, American Academy of HIV Medicine, National Minority AIDS Council, National Coalition for LGBT Health, amfAR, and AIDS United, among others.
The legislation now awaits approval by the House, where it is being introduced by Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Andy Harris (R-MD).
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