Jul 21 2004
The American Liver Foundation has reported on a new Illinois bill that allows people with HIV to donate organs to other people who are HIV-positive.
The bill was written by state representative Larry McKeon, who has HIV, and signed by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. In the past, people with HIV were not considered good candidates for transplantation because of a reduced life expectancy. Drug treatments are now more advanced, and people with HIV are living longer.
Hepatitis C is currently the leading indication for liver transplants. There is a large population of people with hepatitis C who are coinfected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and the livers of those people with both HIV and hepatitis C seem to fail more swiftly. There are currently 91,663 people on the waiting list for a transplant; 17,857 of whom are waiting for a liver.
Illinois is still working out how it will safely carry out the program. To ensure that an HIV-negative patient does not receive the organ of an HIV-positive donor, a separate organ donor pool will need to be created. Doctors must also take into consideration that there are different strains of the virus.