Matt Zofchak is the research assistant at NMAC.
The House is currently considering the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, introduced as a bipartisan bill by Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Andy Harris (R-MD). The Senate version of the bill passed a few weeks ago and the Act is riding this momentum, achieving broad support on both sides of the aisle and already having received 30 House cosponsors.
The HOPE Act is a major step forward for both the HIV community and thousands of organ transplant patients across the nation. The Act would strike provisions of the National Transplant Act which currently prohibit the donation of HIV-infected organs from deceased donors to HIV+ patients on the transplant waiting list. Importantly, this Act would replace policies based on outdated science with ones that reflect current medical knowledge about HIV and organ transplantation.
While the HOPE Act would bring policy into alignment with current science, it would more importantly, save thousands of lives. Currently in the United States, more than 100,000 individuals are on the active waiting lists for organ transplants, with approximately 50,000 new individuals being added each year. Unfortunately, only about 30,000 of these individuals actually receive a transplant. According to an American Journal of Transplantation study, the HOPE Act would serve 500-600 individuals seeking an organ transplant annually.
As the bill moves its way through the lower chamber, NMAC urges Representatives and advocacy groups alike to take advantage of this opportunity to make a positive, lasing impact on the lives of people living with HIV by supporting the passage of the HOPE Act.