A Senate committee has approved a bill that would allow HIV-positive patients to receive organ transplants from others who carry the virus.
The HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act—which got the green light from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee—was a bipartisan effort that saw Democratic Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) co-sponsoring with Republicans Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rand Paul (R-KY).
“I am proud to have worked across party lines on this important issue,” said Baldwin in a statement. “The HOPE Act is a bipartisan, commonsense bill that reflects the progress we are making in medicine, as well as in breaking down the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. By allowing us to move forward with this critical research, the HOPE Act will help decrease the organ wait-time, save countless lives and reduce health care costs in the long-run.”
Backed by the AMA and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the HOPE Act would lift the ban on medical research on HIV-positive organs and allow Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebilius to eventually change policy to approve organ-donation between HIV-positive people who were otherwise a match.
“We have learned much about HIV/AIDS and the HOPE Act ensures that medical science – not outdated stereotypes – is driving critical policy related to organ transplant,” said Dr. John Fangman, medical director at the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.