United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) commends the U.S. House of Representatives for its passage of the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, also known as the HOPE Act (H.R. 698). The Act calls for study of the feasibility, effectiveness and safety of allowing transplantable organs from HIV-positive donors to be used for HIV-positive candidates. The U.S Senate passed its version of the HOPE Act, S. 330, by unanimous consent in June 2013. The measure now awaits approval by President Barack Obama.
UNOS, in its capacity as a private, non-profit organization supporting the transplant community for the benefit of transplant patients, has endorsed the HOPE Act, as have many other transplant-related and HIV advocacy organizations.
Currently, organs from donors identified as HIV-positive cannot be used for transplant, despite the long waiting list for donated organs. Under the HOPE Act, organs from identified HIV-positive donors can be offered to HIV-positive candidates. This should allow these patients to have additional access to transplantation, while also increasing the opportunity for HIV-negative candidates to receive organs from HIV-negative donors.
Patient safety is a paramount consideration to prevent unintentional disease transmission of HIV. The HOPE Act calls for appropriate study of safeguards to insure that HIV status is properly identified at all stages of donation and transplantation. UNOS is highly committed to patient safety and will devote its expertise to developing appropriate policies and standards.
UNOS applauds the primary sponsors of the legislation, including Congresswoman Lois Capps, RN, of California and Congressman Andy Harris, M.D., of Maryland, and Senators Barbara Boxer of California and Tom Coburn, M.D., of Oklahoma.