Researchers at The Alfred are hoping to break down the barriers people living with HIV encounter when it comes to undergoing solid organ transplantation.
The results of the research are in keeping with the international experience, which suggests HIV positive patients who undergo an organ transplant are likely to experience similar outcomes to patients living without HIV.
Alfred Health Infectious Diseases Fellow Dr David Griffin said HIV positive patients should be considered for solid organ transplants, by the same criteria used for those who are HIV negative.
“As a function of people with HIV living longer due to excellent antiviral medications, there’s a growing number of people within that community also living with organ disease associated with ageing and other factors,” Dr Griffin said.
“Historically these people were excluded as transplant recipients because they were thought to be poorer candidates with a much higher risk of mortality and transplant rejection due to their HIV.
“The early international experience suggested their outcomes were quite poor, in part because treatments for HIV weren’t as effective, but obviously we’ve come a long way since then.”
Dr Griffin’s research, which looks at the outcomes of local patients over a 15-year period, suggests that HIV positive patients have good functional organ and HIV outcomes following solid organ transplant.
He said that World AIDS Day is a good opportunity to further the discussion around the changing landscape in HIV, to continue to challenge stigma and discrimination, increase community awareness, and remember those who have died from HIV/AIDS.
“December 1 as World Aids Day is a good time to keep the conversation going and hopefully give impetus to further consider these patients for assessment for solid organ transplants when needed.
“The Alfred is well placed to be doing this as the state’s HIV service and a major international transplant centre.
“There have been a number of barriers, preventing people living with HIV from being considered as organ transplant recipients in the past, but going forward we need to be looking at what we need to do to overcome these barriers.”