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Successful HIV-to-HIV Organ Transplants Mark US, World Firsts

Dorry Segev, left, and Morris Murray, previous liver transplant recipient, are interviewed about the first ever HIV-positive liver transplant in the world after a news conference at Johns Hopkins hospital, March 30, 2016 in Baltimore.

Surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Maryland successfully completed the first U.S. liver and kidney transplants from an HIV positive donor to an HIV positive recipient.

It was the first ever case of a HIV positive liver transplant and the first time in the U.S that an HIV positive kidney has been transplanted. South African doctors have done HIV positive kidney transplants before.

Medical center officials said the organs are working well and that the surgeries saw no complications. One patient has already been discharged and the other is expected to follow him in a matter of days.

According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, there are nearly 400 HIV positive people in the U.S. who could donate organs each year, saving potentially over 1,000 people.

The successful transplants come as a result of the 2013 HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, which paved the way for HIV-to-HIV organ transplants.

The United Network for Organ Sharing gave Johns Hopkins the okay in January, once candidates were identified.

“We are very thankful to Congress, the President and the entire transplant community for letting us use organs from HIV-positive patients to save lives instead of throwing them away, as we had to do for so many years,” said Dr. Dorry L. Segev, professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

There are around 122,000 people in the U.S. awaiting organ donations.