WASHINGTON (AP) — Surgeons in Baltimore have performed what’s thought to be the world’s first kidney transplant from a living donor with HIV, a milestone for patients with the virus who need a new organ — and one that could free up space on the transplant waiting list for everyone.
Nina Martinez of Atlanta traveled to Johns Hopkins University to donate a kidney to [another patient living with HIV], saying she “wanted to make a difference in somebody else’s life” and counter the stigma that too often still surrounds HIV infection.
Many people think “somebody with HIV is supposed to look sick,” Martinez, 35, told The Associated Press before Monday’s operation. “It’s a powerful statement to show somebody like myself who’s healthy enough to be a living organ donor.”
Hopkins, which is making the transplant public on Thursday, said both Martinez and the recipient of her kidney, who chose to remain anonymous, are recovering well.
“Here’s a disease that in the past was a death sentence and now has been so well controlled that it offers people with that disease an opportunity to save somebody else,” said Dr. Dorry Segev, a Hopkins surgeon who pushed for the HIV Organ Policy Equity, or HOPE, Act that lifted a 25-year U.S. ban on transplants between people with HIV.
There’s no count of how many patients [living with HIV] are among the 113,000 people on the nation’s waiting list for an organ transplant. Patients [living with HIV] can receive transplants from HIV-negative donors just like anyone else.Share