Bill would allow studies of organ transplants for HIV patients

Congress enacted the research ban in 1988. But Boxer and Coburn noted that medicine — especially the understanding of HIV and AIDS — has advanced dramatically in that time, allowing people with HIV to lead longer lives and thus suffer more often from liver or kidney failure.

The bill would allow the Health and Human Services Department to study available research and, depending on the results, allow HIV-positive people to be matched with one another for organ donation.

“With so many lives at stake, it is time to end this outdated ban on research into organ donations between HIV-positive individuals,” Boxer said. “This legislation would offer hope to thousands of HIV-positive patients by allowing researchers to determine safe and effective ways to transplant these organs and save lives.”

Rep. Lois Capps introduced a companion bill in the House.

"Creating a science-based pathway for medical research to proceed may potentially allow transplants between individuals with HIV, giving HIV-positive patients a new lease on life while also helping to ease the strain on our entire organ transplant system and save health care dollars," she said in a statement.

— This post was updated at 3:58 p.m.