US doctors perform first liver transplant from HIV donor to HIV recipient

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, USA (REUTERS) - It's another first for Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Medicine. Health officials say they have performed the first liver transplant between an HIV-positive donor and an HIV-positive recipient, as well as the first HIV-to-HIV kidney transplant in the US.

Dr Dorry Segev, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professor of surgery, says it's an exciting time for patients receiving what he calls "perfectly good organs".

Dr Segev said: "Now, instead of having a very high risk of death on the waiting list, every potential HIV-positive donor is potential lives saved."

They say these surgeries could not be performed until an old law - preventing doctors from using organs from HIV-infected patients - was changed.

But now, they say patients will have better odds of survival.

Dr Christine Durand, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine assistant professor of medicine, said: "The patient was able to receive an organ at a time when they were doing well still. The patient is still in the hospital, but expected to be discharged (in) a few days, and the liver is functioning extremely well."

The kidney transplant patient is already at home but doctors say both individuals will be monitored carefully over the next few months.