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Subject: Illinois OKs HIV-infected organ donation

Written By: PoPCultureGirl on 07/16/04 at 9:08 am


Illinois OKs HIV-infected organ donation
Thursday, July 15, 2004 Posted: 7:09 PM EDT (2309 GMT)

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Illinois on Thursday became the first state with a law specifically allowing HIV-infected people to donate organs to others with the virus. But before such donations can take place, federal rules will have to change.

Currently, organs from HIV-infected patients are discarded to prevent them from being transplanted into uninfected patients and spreading the AIDS virus.

But those organs could prolong the lives of people who already have HIV, many of whom are living longer because of advances in medicine, said Dr. Patrick Lynch, a liver specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital who helped write the legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"When those laws were originally put on the books, they made sense. HIV was, unfortunately, a death sentence back then," Lynch said. "That doesn't make sense anymore."

HIV patients in need of a transplant have to wait, along with other patients, for organs from healthy donors.

"What this law allows is expanding the base of potential donors," said Rep. Larry McKeon, a Democrat from Chicago who has HIV.

But first, Illinois officials will have to work with the United Network for Organ Sharing -- which coordinates the nation's organ transplant system for the government -- to change U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations.

Proponents of the Illinois law hope it will prompt other states to help pressure officials to make that change.

Opponents worry there are not enough controls to prevent infected organs from accidentally being given to someone who does not have HIV.

The Illinois State Medical Society unsuccessfully sought the insertion of language protecting doctors from liability if the virus is accidentally transmitted during surgery.

What are your views on this?  Could this be a train wreck waiting to happen?  We all know how many mistakes have been made in the medical industry regarding organ transplants. Not to sounds harsh but AIDS IS a death sentence if you ask me.  Any disease that has no cure is for that matter.  Even if they prolong life, the chances of an AIDS victim living a full healthy life is not too promising. ???

Subject: Re: Illinois OKs HIV-infected organ donation

Written By: Cheetara on 07/16/04 at 10:34 am

First of all, HIV infected patients do not have a death sentence if they are being treated with medications and see physicians on a regular basis.  If the transplants can help other HIV patients then I agree.  Hopefully, other states will follow suit.

I have a friend who has been HIV positive since 1980 and he is doing well...  He lives a healthy lifestyle and has been on medications.  People told him he would be dead by 1986.  It didn't happen.  He's still here:)  People shouldn't be so quick to write HIV/AIDS patients off particularly in this wealthy country.  Yes...things may be different if people like my friend resided in places like Zaire or Cambodia.  :(

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