Congresswomen Nikema Williams and Katie Porter Lead Effort to Increase Access to Lifesaving Organ Transplantation for People with HIV

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Congresswomen Nikema Williams (GA-05) and Katie Porter (CA-47) announced they led 23 colleagues in sending a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, asking him to remove barriers people with HIV face to receiving organ transplants. 

People living with HIV experience severe hardships to organ transplantation and often are not even listed for transplantation while donated organs are wasted. People living with HIV in the South are nearly twice as likely to die while on the organ transplant wait list. The members asked Secretary Becerra to approve a 2022 HHS Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability recommendation to modernize policies on organ transplantation and expand organ transplantation for people with HIV. 

The members wrote in part to Secretary Becerra:

“We encourage you to instruct the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network to implement a new standard of clinical care to increase the number of kidneys and livers for transplantation, reduce the transplant wait time for people living with HIV, and thus reduce the transplant wait time for everyone else waiting on a life-preserving transplant. With expanded donor eligibility, advances in HIV treatment, and the transplantation science amassed through HOPE Act clinical research to date, we can and should eliminate barriers to HIV-to-HIV transplantation. This new standard of care will shorten transplant waiting lists, reduce wasted organs, and eliminate the unacceptable and continued deaths of people who are diagnosed with HIV and end-stage organ disease.”

The members continued: 

“Patients with HIV deserve expanded access to vital transplants that directly impact their quality of life, now, and without the delays created by the research protocols that were originally mandated in 2013.”

Click here for the text of the letter to Secretary Becerra. 

The organizations supporting the letter include: AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AID Atlanta, Inc., AIDS Alabama, American Transplant Foundation, National Kidney Foundation, AIDS United, Human Rights Campaign, Southern AIDS Coalition, American Sexual Health Association, AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, AIDS Foundation Chicago, AIDS Action Baltimore, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Cascade AIDS Project, Eye Bank Association of America, HIV Dental Alliance, Georgia Transplant Foundation, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, Fenway Health/Fenway Institute, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equity, HealthHIV, HIV Medicine Association, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, University of California San Diego (UCSD) Last Gift Team, SisterLove Inc., Infectious Diseases Society of America, The AIDS Institute, amfAR The Foundation for AIDS Research, Positive Women’s Network-USA, The DIVA Foundation, HIV+Aging Research Project- Palm Springs, The Center for HIV Law and Policy, The Reunion Project, The RID-HIV Martin Delaney Collaboratory HIV Cure Research Community Advisory Board, and Treatment Action Group. 

CONTACT: PressGA05@mail.house.gov 

Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District on the exclusive Financial Services Committee. She is a champion of voting rights and builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as co-chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams is committed to closing the racial wealth gap and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of your ZIP code or bank account.

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