HealthDay News — HIV may not be a barrier for kidney transplants between patients infected with the virus, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates.

To compare the outcome of kidney transplantation in HIV-positive patients who receive organs from HIV-negative donors with organs from HIV-positive donors, Elmi Muller, MB, ChB, MMed, head of transplantation at Groote Schuur Hospital in Capetown, and colleagues conducted a prospective, nonrandomized study of kidney transplantation.

The patients all had a CD4 T-cell count of 200 per cubic millimeter or higher and an undetectable plasma HIV RNA level and were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART).

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Of the 27 HIV-positive patients with kidney disease who received transplants from HIV-positive patients who had died, 74% were alive after five years, reported the investigators.

The research doesn’t appear likely to have an immediate impact in the United States, where HIV infection isn’t as common and kidney disease is often treated with dialysis instead of transplants, noted experts. But in South Africa, the possibility of using HIV-positive donors may resolve some of the problems providers experience in getting enough donors for patients with end-stage kidney disease.


  1. Muller EM et al. NEJM. 2015; doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1408896