In a massive medical breakthrough, surgeons at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore transplanted a kidney from an HIV-positive donor – Nina Martinez. The recipient, who preferred to remain anonymous, and the donor are both doing well and recovering. With this, Martinez became the first living HIV-positive kidney donor ever. Martinez, 36, is a public health consultant and acquired HIV in 1983 through a blood transfusion when she was just 6 months old.
Until as late as 2013, HIV-positive organ donations were not permitted in the United States. However, with the passing of the HIC Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act in 2013 that allowed scientists to conduct studies of organ transplants from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients. But, this law was, primarily, was used to allow deceased HIV-positive patients to become donors. Until this surgery, there have been over 100 HIV-to-HIV donations but all of them have involved deceased donors.
However, this transplant changes conventional perception and is a boon to the HIV-positive patients that are looking for organ transplants.
The transplant was performed by Dr Dorry Segev, professor of surgery at the hospital. She praised Martinez for her bravery and said that this was a “celebration” of HIV-medical care. A six to eight-inch incision was made in the abdomen and the kidney was implanted near the pelvis of the recipient. The recipient, for the first time in a year, will not be needing dialysis.
After the surgery, both the recipient and Martinez will continue to remain on antiretroviral medication that keeps a tab on HIV.
Isn’t this a fantastic medical breakthrough? Do let us know your views!