Obama Signs the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act

Obama Signs the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act

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Photo: Pete Souza
Photo: Pete Souza

Dr. Daniel Salomon, President of the American Society of Transplantation (AST), joined President Obama Thursday at the White House as he signed S. 330, the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act. The legislation, which enjoyed bipartisan and bicameral support, seeks to expand the supply of life-saving organs available for transplantation to the more than 118,000 individuals currently on the organ waitlist.

During the small Oval Office gathering, Salomon thanked Obama and expressed AST’s gratitude for the enactment of an important patient-focused bill that will make the gift-of-life a reality for more individuals awaiting a life-saving donor organ. The passage of the legislation was spearheaded by AST’s longtime Director of Government Relations, Bill Applegate, in the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Bryan Cave, LLP.

“We are honored and humbled to have led the efforts to enact a law that will undoubtedly enhance and strengthen the field of transplantation,” said Salomon. “The HOPE Act is a common sense policy that signifies the importance of continuing to examine and evolve the safeguards and standards of quality for research of organs. This historic occasion would not have been possible without the undaunted efforts of Bill Applegate, the AST Public Policy Committee, and our grassroots leaders who work tirelessly to advance legislative and regulatory proposals aimed at improving our nation’s transplant system.”

Obama released a statement following the signing. It read:

“Earlier today, I signed into law the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that allows scientists to carry out research into organ donations from one person with HIV to another.  For decades, these organ transplants have been illegal. It was even illegal to study whether they could be safe and effective.  But as our understanding of HIV and effective treatments have grown, that policy has become outdated.  The potential for successful organ transplants between people living with HIV has become more of a possibility.  The HOPE Act lifts the research ban, and, in time, it could lead to live-saving organ donations for people living with HIV while ensuring the safety of the organ transplant process and strengthening the national supply of organs for all who need them.

“Improving care for people living with HIV is critical to fighting the epidemic, and it’s a key goal of my National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  The HOPE Act marks an important step in the right direction, and I thank Congress for their action.”

Salomon applauded Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA), Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Andy Harris (R-MD), and Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) for working in a bipartisan effort to pass legislation during a very challenging time on Capitol Hill. The HOPE Act amends the Public Health Service Act to establish safeguards and standards of quality for research of organs infected with HIV.

The American Society of Transplantation is an international organization of transplant professionals dedicated to advancing the field of transplantation and improving patient care by promoting research, education, advocacy and organ donation. The Society comprises more than 3,200 transplant physicians, surgeons, scientists and allied health professionals.

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