Doctors have performed what is thought to be the first kidney transplant from a donor living with HIV.
Nina Martinez grew up with HIV after receiving an infected blood transfusion but one of her friends, who was HIV-positive, was in need of a kidney and she wanted to donate, USA Today reported.
Although her friend sadly passed away before she was clear for the operation, Nina still wanted to go through the process and donated her kidney to an anonymous recipient this week in what is being called a medical breakthrough.
Dr Dorry Segev, leading researcher on HIV organ donation and the surgeon who removed the kidney, said: “This is not only a celebration of transplantation, but also HIV care.
“Thirty years ago, what was a disease that was basically a death sentence has been so transformed that today somebody with HIV can save somebody’s else’s life.
“It was no different from any other live donation in somebody who doesn’t have HIV, and that’s what makes it magical – that now anybody can do this, anywhere in the world.”
Before 2013, HIV-positive people could not donate organs but through Segev’s research, the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act was passed which reversed the ban and allowed HIV-to-HIV organ donations.