U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

Baldwin Applauds Removal of Research Ban on HIV Organ Donation

Critical provision of Baldwin’s HOPE Act implemented by HHS, allows for HIV-positive to HIV-positive organ transplants

By - May 8th, 2015 03:17 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin applauded a final rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that instructs the Organ Procurement Transplantation Network (OPTN) to accept organs from individuals known to be HIV-positive. The organs will be available for transplantation only into individuals who are infected with HIV before receiving such organs and who are participating in clinical research.

This final rule comes as a result of the bipartisan HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which Senator Baldwin, along with Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and former Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), introduced in February 2013 and was signed into law in November of that same year.

“Today’s news reflects the significant progress we are making in medicine and medical research, as well as in breaking down the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am proud to have worked across party lines on this important issue. The HOPE Act is not only a commonsense step forward in saving countless lives, but also decreasing the organ wait time and reducing health care costs in the long term.”

The HOPE Act lifted the ban on medical research of HIV-positive organs and provided for a study on the safety and effectiveness of HIV-positive to HIV-positive organ donation by the Secretary of HHS. The bill directed the Secretary to establish guidelines for researchers and to regularly review the results of the research. Per the law’s guidance, if the Secretary determined the results of the research warranted changes to the organ transplant system to allow for HIV-positive to HIV-positive organ donation, then she would direct OPTN to revise their standards, while ensuring that the change does not impact the safety of organ transplantation.

The HOPE Act is supported by the American Medical Association, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American Society of Transplantation, and 40 LGBT health, HIV/AIDS, transplant, and medical stakeholders.

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