Draft bill on HIV-positive organ transplants passes review

Taipei, A draft bill allowing HIV-positive people to donate organs to HIV-positive patients in need passed a preliminary review by a legislative committee in Taiwan on Thursday, a move that could save lives.

The HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act currently bans individuals who are HIV positive from donating blood and providing organs, tissues, body fluids or cells for transplantation or for use by others.

The draft amendment stipulates that HIV patients in need of organ transplants can sign an agreement to accept organs from HIV-positive donors.

The amendment passed a preliminary review by the Legislature's Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee on Thursday.

There is a shortage of organs available for transplants in Taiwan, and the passing of the amendment could help alleviate the pressure for some on the waiting list, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (???) told reporters.

He also said the amendment will not trigger the spread of HIV infection because both donor and recipient will be HIV patients.

According to the Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center, the demand for organs far outstrips supply.

There are currently over 9,000 people awaiting organ transplant in Taiwan, but in 2017, only 339 people donated organs nationwide, statistics from the center showed.

Health officials estimate that after the bill is passed, about 60-70 HIV patients in Taiwan will choose to donate their organs each year, based on statistics from countries that allow HIV-positive organ transplants.

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) targets the immune system and weakens people's defense against infections, making them vulnerable to a wide range of infections, cancers and other diseases.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel