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The transplantation of solid organs from HIV-positive donors to HIV-negative recipients: ethical implications


HIV-positive individuals have traditionally been barred from donating organs due to transmission concerns, but this barrier may soon be lifted in the USA in limited settings when recipients are also infected with HIV. Recipients of livers and kidneys with well-controlled HIV infection have been shown to have similar outcomes to those without HIV, erasing ethical concerns about poorly chosen beneficiaries of precious organs. But the question of whether HIV-negative patients should be disallowed from receiving an organ from an HIV-positive donor has not been adequately explored. In this essay, we will discuss the background to this scenario and the ethical implications of its adoption from the perspectives of autonomy, beneficence/non-maleficence and justice.

  • Allocation of Organs/Tissues
  • Donation/Procurement of Organs/Tissues
  • HIV Infection and AIDS
  • Transplantation

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