U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, today praised the passage in the committee of the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which removes the ban on research of organ transplantation from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients.
Alexander said: "This bill will open the door for the medical community to pursue responsible research on organ transplants between HIV-positive individuals, to determine the safety of these transplants. I urge the Senate to support this important step forward for research that has the potential to save the lives of many Americans awaiting transplants."
The bill, which was introduced by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), removes the ban on acquiring HIV-positive organs in order to conduct research on transplants between HIV-positive individuals. If the research shows that such transplants can be conducted safely, the bill allows for standards to be updated to allow transplants between HIV-positive individuals in a manner that ensures the safety of all patients. Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) are also cosponsors of the bill.
Today more than 100,000 Americans are on the organ transplant waiting list. "This bill is a reflection of the significant progress we have made so far in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We've seen great advances in research in the past three decades that make this ban on research of organ transplants between HIV-positive individuals out of date," Alexander added.