Thursday, February 21, 2013

Boxer + Coburn = HIV Organ Donation Bill

On Feb. 14, Valentine's Day and a day when we're focused on matters of that vital human organ, the heart, two senators from polar opposites of the political spectrum put aside differences. The cause? A bill to help our aging population of people living with AIDS.

From the release issued by the offices of Boxer and Coburn, pictured:

U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) today introduced the HOPE Act (HIV Organ Policy Equity Act), legislation that would end the federal ban on federal research into organ donations from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients. The bipartisan measure - which is also sponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rand Paul (R-KY) - would open a pathway to the eventual transplantation of these organs, offering hope to thousands of HIV-positive patients who are currently on waiting lists for life-saving organs. Currently, even researching the feasibility of such transplants is banned under federal law . . . According to a study published in the American Journal of Transplantation, allowing organ transplants between HIV-positive patients could increase the organ donation pool by 500-600 donors a year and save hundreds of lives. 

Did you ever think you'd see a day when ultra liberal Boxer and super conservative Coburn, not to mention the likes of Tammy Baldwin and Rand Paul, would unite like this? We should applaud this bipartisan effort on political, medical and ethical grounds.

My partner Mike and I, along with other PWAs, may one day need to take advantage of organ transplants so this bill is of keen interest to us. On an important grammatical and empowerment note, I'm pleased the senators' release never used the offensive term "AIDS victim", a small contribution toward reducing stigma.

According to the senators' release, a wide array of organ transplant, medical societies and the Human Rights Campaign, AMFAR and Lambda Legal, along with other gay and AIDS groups are also behind the bill. 

Please spread the word about the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act.

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