There have been four transplants made over the last five years – two kidneys and two livers from three deceased donors – but the news has only now been made public.
NHS Blood and Transplant have confirmed that organs from HIV-positive donors would not be given to HIV-negative recipients due to the risk of infection.
Two people donated their liver and these were both transplanted, while the other donor donated two kidneys and both were transplanted, NHS Blood and Transplant said. The agency are hoping that the breakthrough will offer a new supply of donors for HIV-positive recipients, and are encouraging people with HIV to join the organ donor register.
Professor John Forsythe, associate medical director for Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s exciting that some people with HIV in the UK have helped benefit patients with HIV after their death by donating their organs.
“In the UK there is a shortage of organ donors and on average three people a day die in need of an organ transplant.
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“While organ transplants from donors with HIV are limited to recipients with HIV infection, innovations like this open up the possibility of donation where it did not previously exist and will help to reduce the shortage of donor organs.
“We hope the news that there have been a small number of transplants in the UK from donors with HIV will inspire people living with the condition to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.”
Prof Forsythe said successful organ transplants of this kind from donors with HIV to recipients with HIV are now possible thanks to the improvements in the management and treatment of the condition.
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