Bill lifting ban on HIV organ donation heads to Obama for signature


WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation that lifts the federal ban on the donation of HIV-positive organs to HIV-positive recipients.

organ-donorThe HOPE Act passed the Senate earlier this year and faced no opposition. The bill now heads to President Obama to sign into law.

The measure amends the Public Health Service Act to establish safeguards and standards of quality for research of organs infected with HIV, and effectively repeals a law passed in 1988 prevents those donations, a policy that was enacted at the height of the AIDS scare.

“The bipartisan passage of the HOPE Act will fundamentally improve the quality of healthcare available for people living with HIV and AIDS,” said Allison Herwitt, Vice President for Government Affairs for the Human Rights Campaign. “By removing these antiquated barriers to transplants, the lives of hundreds of people living with HIV and AIDS can be saved each year.”

The HOPE Act enjoyed bipartisan support in both chambers – in the Senate it was introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and in the House, Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Andy Harris (R-Md.) were the lead cosponsors.

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Currently, more than 100,000 patients are actively waiting for life-saving organs and about 50,000 more are added annually.

Permitting organs from HIV-positive donors to be used for transplant in HIV-infected patients with liver or kidney failure could save as many as 1,000 people each year.

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