Yes, if you want to help others through the gift of donation at the time of your death, register to be a donor and let the medical professionals decide what you can give to help others.
The best way to think about this question is to remember that people living with transmittable diseases, like Hepatitis C, B, and HIV can all receive transplants. Now, with better medications and advancements in transplant, we are able to help both potential organ recipients AND potential organ donors who are also HCV+ or HIV+ to save the life of someone on the list who is also positive for the same disease.
HIV-HIV donation is possible in the U.S. thanks to the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on November 21, 2013 and allows people with living with HIV (PLWH) to be organ donors to other people on the transplant list who are also living with HIV.
PLWH have been able to receive transplants since the early 2000s. What makes the HOPE Act special is that it allows people living with HIV—many of whom are very healthy and live long, healthy lives—to donate to people living with HIV on the wait list, who tended to wait longer, and experience higher mortality rates, as they waited for a transplant.
The HOPE Act makes the transplant system more fair to everyone by allowing PLWH to be organ donors, which increases access for PLWH on the waitlist.
Something special about the HOPE Act is that by expanding the number of people who can be organ donors, *everyone* (HIV- and HIV+) can receive a transplant faster. Every time a donor under the HOPE Act saves lives, everyone on the list moves “up” even faster.
Honoring the donation decision of HIV+ organ donors to give life to HIV+ patients who require transplants has the potential to save 1,000 lives per year and to save taxpayers around $500,000 in Medicare savings per patient transplanted.
In March of 2016, Johns Hopkins performed this procedure for the first time transplanting a liver and a kidney between an HIV positive donor and recipients. Since this time, multiple transplants have been performed under the act. The patients who receive these special transplants are being followed for long-term care by an NIH funded study—and to date, all are doing very well.
As of January 2018, 24 transplant hospitals have enrolled to participate in the research study, and more than 300 candidates are currently listed to potentially receive transplants from HIV-positive donors. Lifeline of Ohio has the ability to honor the donation decision of someone living with HIV and recover these special gifts for the purpose of transplantation, per research protocols.
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