Kidney transplantation between individuals who are HIV-positive is safe, according to a new study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

There is a growing prevalence of end-stage kidney disease in patients living with HIV. Kidney transplants can help extend the lives of people with HIV and end-stage kidney disease; however, there is a shortage of donors and limited access to donor kidneys, according to the NIH. The 2013 HIV Organ Police Equity (HOPE) Act allows organ transplants from donors with HIV to recipients with HIV. Experts believe that allowing kidney donations from people with HIV would expand the donor pool. 

The NIH study enrolled 75 adults living with HIV across 14 clinical research sites with end-stage kidney disease. According to the press release, the patient’s HIV was reliably suppressed by anti-HIV therapy. The study was conducted between March 2016 and July 2019. Twenty-five participants received kidneys from deceased donors with HIV while 50 received transplants from deceased donors without HIV. 

The average follow-up for patients who received HIV-positive kidneys was 1.4 years compared with 1.8 years for patients who received an HIV-negative kidney. The overall graft survival was comparable between the groups, according to the press release. Among those who received HIV-positive kidneys, the graft survival rate was 91% compared with 92% for HIV-negative kidneys. There were no differences in rates of infections requiring hospitalization, according to the press release. HIV-related complication was rare and the rate of serious adverse events was 1.1 per person year. 

The study indicates that the pool of kidneys available for people living with HIV can be expanded safely, according to the press release. By expanding options for this patient population, more kidneys will be available for all those awaiting a transplant, the study authors concluded.

Reference:
Kidney transplantation between people with HIV is safe, NIH study finds (News Release), Bethesda, MD July 23, 2020, EurekAlert! Accessed July 24, 2020