Governor Jerry Brown of California, U.S. on May 27 signed a bill legalising organ transplant between HIV patient.

The newly signed bill is repealing the previous ban on organ transplant from a HIV-positive donor to a HIV-positive patient. The bill was signed on May 27

Prior to this time, organ donation from donors infected with HIV was illegal in California and punishable with up to six years imprisonment irrespective of the circumstances surrounding the donation.

Under the new bill, doctors who conducted an organ transplant between HIV-infected patients will not be held accountable and will not be penalised by the state Medical Board. The bill also allows people with HIV to donate organs to help out other HIV patients.

“There are so many desperate people out there waiting for organs,” said Dr. Peter Stock, a transplant surgeon at UCSF, in a report from Fox News. “The donor shortage is such a problem. Literally, we lose people every week.”

Under the new bill, HIV patients who are willing to receive an organ transplant from HIV-positive donor can reduce the wait time from many years to six months or less.

According to United Network for Organ Sharing, there are more than 120,000 people waiting for lifesaving transplant in the United States. 21,888 of those are in California. An average of 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant.

The organ transplant between HIV patients was allowed in the United States, with exemption of some states, since 2013 under the Hope Act signed by the outgoing President Barack Obama.

The Hope Act negates the previous 1988 U.S. ban on organ donation from HIV-positive people.

With the guidelines for transplants from HIV-positive donors finalised last year, surgeons began performing the procedure this year.

Author: Ope Adedeji