In a major medical breakthrough, a 35-year-old HIV-positive woman has given her kidney for transplant to another patient with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) virus.
The surgeons at Johns Hopkins University performed the operation, which is the first of its kind. The donor is Nina Martinez while the name of the recipient has not been shared.
Matinez wanted to donate her kidney to a friend, who passed away. So, she wanted to be an organ donor. Prior to this transplant operation, the doctors were of the view that it was too risky for an HIV-positive patient to have only one kidney.
The decision to pursue Martinez’s wish shows the confidence scientists have in the present anti-retroviral medication that enables HIV patients to live a normal, productive life.
According to Dorry Segev, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, around 500-600 HIV-positive patients can donate organs every year that can benefit some 1000 people that have this virus.
Notably, Johns Hopkins University Hospital got authorization in 2016 to perform the first transplant from a living donor with HIV. Since then, the surgeons have been looking for compatible patients.
Both Martinez and her kidney recipient will need to continue their anti-retroviral medication. “When I take this recipient off the list, everyone moves up, whether they have HIV or not,” said Martinez.