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Work group to address OPTN policy relating to HIV-positive organ recovery

Richmond, Va. – Fifteen clinicians and professionals involved in organ donation and transplantation have been named to an Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) work group to consider OPTN policies that would need to be developed or revised to allow recovery of organs from HIV-positive donors. A key aspect in policy consideration is ensuring that HIV status would be properly identified at all stages of donation and transplantation.

The work group is being convened in accordance with recent federal passage of the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, also known as the HOPE Act. The Act calls for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop and publish criteria for the conduct of research relating to the potential transplantation of organs from donors known to be HIV-positive to recipients who are HIV-positive. The law also requires the OPTN to revise its standards of quality for the acquisition and transportation of HIV-positive organs to the extent determined necessary to allow conduct of research. DHHS, in conjunction with the OPTN, will subsequently review the results of the scientific research and assess the feasibility, effectiveness and safety of using organs from HIV-positive donors.

In recent years, 200 or more transplants have been performed annually for HIV-positive recipients in the United States. (An exact count is not available, since disclosure laws in a number of states prevent the public reporting of HIV status for transplant candidates or recipients.) Since existing federal law and regulation has prohibited transplantation of organs from donors identified as HIV-positive, all HIV-positive recipients have been matched with organs from donors identified as HIV-negative.

“There is broad support of the concept of matching organs from HIV-positive donors with HIV-positive candidates,” said Daniel Kaul, M.D., co-chair of the work group and a specialist in transplant-related infectious disease. “If the needs of future candidates with HIV can be met with HIV-positive donor organs, it will also create more opportunities for HIV-negative candidates to receive organs from HIV-negative donors. At the same time, we must ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent unintended disease transmission.”

Work group members represent a broad variety of expertise including transplant surgery and medicine, organ recovery, infectious disease, quality management, transplant administration and transplant coordination. Each also participates as a volunteer on one or more OPTN/UNOS committees relating to organ recovery, safety of donation and transplantation, and/or prevention and treatment of infectious disease in transplantation. Individual members are as follows:

Richard Pietroski, M.S., CPTC (co-chair), chief executive officer of Gift of Life Michigan
Daniel Kaul, M.D. (co-chair), director of the transplant infectious diseases service at the University of Michigan Medical Center
Laura Butler, FNP-BC, transplant quality manager at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Theresa Daly, M.S., RN, FNP, director of clinical operations at New York Presbyterian/Columbia
Jean Davis, RN, executive vice president of organ procurement organization services at LifeLink Foundation
Danyel Gooch, RN, CCTC, lung transplant coordinator at Indiana University Health
Michael Green, M.D., M.P.H., professor of pediatrics and surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Monica Johnson-Tomanka, RN, M.S., executive director of Sierra Donor Services
Jennifer Prinz, RN, B.S.N., M.P.H., chief operating officer of Donor Alliance
Timothy Pruett, M.D., clinical chair of transplantation at the University of Minnesota Medical Center
Costi Sifri, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine
Peter Stock, M.D., Ph.D., director of the pancreas transplant program at UC San Francisco Medical Center
Lisa Stocks, FNP, RN, executive director of Lifesharing
Sean Van Slyck, M.P.A./H.S.A, CPTC, organ program director at California Transplant Donor Network
Cameron Wolfe, M.D., attending faculty in transplant infectious disease at Duke University Medical Center

Staff of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation, also serve as ex officio, nonvoting members of the committee.

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) serves as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) by contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation. The OPTN brings together medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop organ transplantation policy.

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