The American Association of Kidney Patients is pleased to have been part of the advocacy efforts that led to the passage of the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which allows for the study of HIV-positive organs to be donated to those in need who are also HIV positive. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on November 21 after it received support from both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Before the HOPE Act, it was illegal simply to study HIV-positive organ transplants. Now researchers can investigate whether or not it is safe for HIV-positive patients to receive an organ from another HIV-positive patient. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN), there are more than 120,000 Americans waiting for an organ transplant, of which 100,000 are awaiting a new kidney. Researchers from the John Hopkins School Medicine say allowing otherwise healthy HIV positive patients to donate an organ could allow for an additional 500 to 600 more transplants each year.
“This is encouraging news for our patient population”, stated AAKP President Sam Pederson. “Today scientists have a better understanding of HIV and the old policy was outdated. This new legislation gives us the potential to see if organ donation from a HIV person to another HIV person is possible – and that is hope.”
AAKP worked with a wide coalition of organizations and elected officials seeking passage of this important law. Patient advocacy education is an important part of AAKP’s mission. The Association actively addresses public policy issue with government officials, including Congress, and federal agencies, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). At the top of AAKP’s agenda is Quality of health care – from early diagnosis of CKD to improved dialysis treatment options and better management of all health conditions, to increasing transplant opportunities.