President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy calls for aligning HIV-related laws and policies to be consistent with the most recent scientific evidence. Today, we took a step forward in that direction when the President signed into law the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, bipartisan legislation that updates regulations from 1988 to reflect our advances in understanding and treating HIV. The President issued the following statement on this important legislation:
Earlier today, I signed into law the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that allows scientists to carry out research into organ donations from one person with HIV to another. For decades, these organ transplants have been illegal. It was even illegal to study whether they could be safe and effective. But that policy has become outdated. Our country has come a long way in our understanding of HIV and in developing effective treatments. And as our knowledge has grown, the possibility of successful organ transplants between HIV-positive people has become more real. The HOPE Act lifts the research ban. In time, it could lead to these organ donations for people living with HIV. And that, in turn, would help save and improve lives and strengthen the national supply of organs for all who need them.
Improving care for people living with HIV is critical to fighting the epidemic, and it’s a key goal of my National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The HOPE Act marks an important step in the right direction, and I thank Congress for their action.
Grant Colfax, MD is the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy.