In this image made from video provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine, Nina Martinez of Atlanta is wheeled into a Baltimore operating room to become who is thought to be the world’s first kidney transplant living donor with HIV, on Monday, March 25, 2019. Martinez, 35, donated a kidney to an HIV-positive stranger, saying she "wanted to make a difference in somebody else's life" and counter the stigma that too often still surrounds HIV infection. (Johns Hopkins Medicine via AP)

US begins organ transplants from living donors who have HIV

March 28, 2019 - 8:01 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Surgeons in Baltimore have performed what's thought to be the first kidney transplant from a living donor with HIV, a long-awaited milestone.

Nina Martinez, a 35-year-old from Atlanta, traveled to Johns Hopkins University to donate to an HIV-positive stranger. She says she wanted to make a difference in someone else's life and counter stigma surrounding HIV infection.

Doctors only recent began transplanting organs from deceased donors who had HIV into HIV-positive recipients. Hopkins says it's time to try HIV-positive living donation because newer HIV treatments are less likely to harm a donor's remaining kidney.

Hopkins says donor and recipient are recovering well. Experts say if more HIV-positive patients had a living donor, it could free up space on the nation's transplant waiting list.

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