Life is bad enough if you are HIV-positive, but what if you have kidney failure as well? What are your chances after a transplant? And can an HIV-positive donor help?
HIV-positive people with kidney failure who get a donated kidney from another person with HIV/AIDS fare as well as patients who get one from an uninfected donor, according to a South African study published on Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. This is an important piece of research because it opens up a new group of desperately needed kidney donors for HIV/AIDS patients, who are especially vulnerable to renal failure, said the study’s lead author, Elmi Muller, who pioneered such "positive to positive" renal transplants in 2008. Especially since between a quarter and a fifth of HIV-positive patients who do not receive timely treatment get chronic kidney disease now have some hope.
The HIV-positive patients had comparable survival rates to patients who had received kidneys from donors who were HIV-negative. The survival rate among the patients was 84% after one year, 84% after three years, and 74% after five years. And remember, a kidney transplant can save more than one life, as the recipient frees up a dialysis machine for someone else.
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