US begins organ transplants from living donors who have HIV

WASHINGTON (AP) — Surgeons in Baltimore have performed what’s thought to be the first kidney transplant from a living donor with HIV, a long-awaited milestone.

Nina Martinez, a 35-year-old from Atlanta, traveled to Johns Hopkins University to donate to an HIV-positive stranger. She says she wanted to make a difference in someone else’s life and counter stigma surrounding HIV infection.

Doctors only recent began transplanting organs from deceased donors who had HIV into HIV-positive recipients. Hopkins says it’s time to try HIV-positive living donation because newer HIV treatments are less likely to harm a donor’s remaining kidney.

Hopkins says donor and recipient are recovering well. Experts say if more HIV-positive patients had a living donor, it could free up space on the nation’s transplant waiting list.

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