Atlanta – The OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors, at its meeting June 1 and 2, approved policies to facilitate the transplant community’s participation in the federal HIV Organ Policy Equity Act (also known as the HOPE Act), which calls for study of the feasibility, effectiveness and safety of allowing transplantable organs from HIV-positive donors to be used for HIV-positive candidates.  The policies approved by the Board allow the recovery of organs from HIV-positive donors and include patient safety measures intended to assure their use only for candidates known to be HIV-positive.

“This is a crucial step in the process of making the HOPE Act a reality,” said OPTN/UNOS President Carl Berg, M.D.  “The new requirements build upon recent changes in federal law and regulation and provide a pathway for the clinical use of organs from HIV-positive donors.  We expect this to increase the number of transplants, not only for HIV-positive candidates but for HIV-negative recipients who will have greater access to organs from HIV-negative donors.”

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of the National Institutes of Health, is leading the development of research criteria for transplant programs that plan to use HIV-positive organs for HIV-positive recipients.  Clinical studies may begin as early as 2016.

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) serves as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) by contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation. The OPTN brings together medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop national organ transplantation policy.