Issue: Federal Advocacy

HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act

H.R. 698; S. 330

The Problem

Major advances in the treatment of HIV and AIDS mean that HIV-positive individuals are living longer, and like other older Americans, they too are developing medical conditions that require organ transplant.  However, the number of individuals in need of organ transplants far exceeds the availability of healthy organs; more than 100,000 patients are actively waiting for life-saving organs and about 50,000 more are added annually.  Permitting organs from deceased, HIV-positive donors to be used for transplant to HIV-positive recipients has the potential to save 1,000 HIV-infected patients with liver and kidney failure each year, as well as shortening the general waiting list for uninfected people awaiting transplants.  However, federal laws on organ transplants, as well as federal criminal statutes, currently prohibit such organ donations.   
 

What is the HOPE Act?

The HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act would permit donated, HIV-positive organs to be used for transplantation in HIV-positive patients, a medical procedure currently prohibited by federal law.  The HOPE Act directs the Department of Health and Human Services and the Organ Procurement Transplant Network (OPTN) to develop and institute standards for research on HIV-positive organ transplantation and permits the Secretary to permit positive-to-positive transplantation if it is determined that the results of research warrant such a change.  The Secretary would be required to direct OPTN to develop standards to ensure that positive-to-positive transplantation does not impact the safety of the organ transplantation network.  In addition, the Act amends federal criminal law regarding HIV transmission to clarify that such organ donations are not barred.  

 

Public Health Support

The HOPE Act has the potential to save hundreds of lives by making more organs safely available for transplant.  That is why the Act is supported by dozens of organizations that advocate on transplant policy and communities with an increased need for transplantation, including: AIDS United, amfAR, American Medical Association, American Society for Nephrology, Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, American Society of Transplantation, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, Dialysis Patient Citizens, HIV Medicine Association, and United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). 

 

What is the Current Status of the Bill?

The HOPE Act was introduced on February 14, 2013, in the Senate by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Rand Paul (R-KY) and in the House by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA). On June 17, 2013, the Senate passed S. 330 by unanimous consent. On July 17, 2013, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce passed H.R. 698 by unanimous consent. On November 12, 2013, the House passed S. 330 by unanimous consent.

 

For more information, please contact legislation@hrc.org.

Last Updated: November 13, 2013