The first heart transplant between two HIV-positive people was performed at Montefiore Hospital in New York City on July 26. The procedure has been available since the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act of 2013 was instated, but this is the world’s first case of it being performed, reports Advocate.
THIS PROCEDURE WIDENS THE DONOR POOL FOR HEART TRANSPLANTS
The recipient of the heart is reported to be a 60-year-old woman who suffered heart failure and received a kidney transplant within the same surgery as her heart. Details of the donor were not provided, reports Advocate.
Despite there being anywhere between 60,000 and 100,000 people in the US alone needing heart transplants, only 3,800 were performed in 2021. By undertaking this procedural first, healthcare specialists believe the pool of potential donors and recipients could expand significantly.
“Making this option available to people living with HIV expands the pool of donors and means more people, with or without HIV, will have quicker access to a lifesaving organ. To say we are proud of what this means for our patients and the medical community at large, is an understatement,” says Dr Omar Saeed, who is a cardiologist and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Einstein.
Treatments for HIV have made astounding advancements since the virus was first detected in the ’80s. With the availability of PEP and PrEP, individuals no longer have to feel that a HIV diagnosis is a death sentence.
This successful transplant between two HIV-positive people makes doctors and healthcare experts hopeful that there are going to be more donors and recipients of much-needed organ transplants. The Advocate article mentions one man receiving a stem cell transplant which has eliminated detection of any antigens in his blood meaning he is functionally cured of HIV.