NYC Patient Infected With AIDS Virus Through Kidney Transplant

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New York City patient was infected with the AIDS virus through a kidney transplant from a live donor, in what health officials are calling the first confirmed U.S. case since the 1980s.

The case is considered extremely rare, but some health officials noted that there is no strict policy for when live donors should be tested for the AIDS virus before a transplant.

In reporting the New York case on Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that organ donors have sophisticated tests for HIV within a week of surgery.

In this case, the male donor was tested for HIV about 10 weeks before he donated a kidney and the results were negative. Health officials believe he was infected between that test and the 2009 surgery; he reported having unprotected sex with another man during that time.

Neither the donor nor the recipient knew they had HIV until about a year after the transplant, according to the CDC report. No other details about the donor or recipient or their relationship were released.

Health officials say both are receiving HIV treatment.

“We don’t know how frequently this is happening and we need better surveillance,” said Dr. Matthew Kuehnert, a CDC official who co-authored the report.

At least one similar U.S. case has been reported in the media. An Orlando woman last year filed a lawsuit, saying she was infected with HIV through a 2007 kidney transplant in Florida. However, CDC officials say they have not been asked to investigate and could not confirm the report.

Italian doctors reported a case in 1989.

Living donors are routinely screened — as are organs from deceased donors — for HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases. Testing for HIV began in 1985.

Kidneys from live donors are becoming increasingly common. In 1988, about 32 percent of kidney transplants came from live donors.

By last year, it was more than 46 percent, according to federal data.

The report is being published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

HIV devastates the immune system by destroying the body’s CD8 cells. They are the white blood cells that “sound the alarm” when someone gets an infection, getting the attention of the rest of the immune system cells, and promoting an active immune response.

Without them, the body’s response to infection is much slower and weaker.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • ken

    remember, that there is a window period when a person could have a negative test result. folks take the test, too soon after some risky sexual activity. damn, a condom is so much cheaper no matter what kinds of sexual practices a person may have. a shame though.

  • DigitalBob

    Blame the doctors, blame the CDC, but whatever you do, don’t blame the guy getting corn-holed who can’t be bothered to use a rubber.

  • desiree

    My cousin just had a transplant about 2 months ago and it would kill her if she found out somewhere down the line that she was infected with HIV. The CDC should do more to screen patients before they give someone else kidney and screen the donor so this doesn’t happen to future recipents.

    • LYNNE


  • marcus

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the statement “some health officials noted that there is no strict policy for when live donors should be tested for the AIDS virus before a transplant.”, erks me. Shouldn’t there be a pretest immediately before the surgery? Like the same day? Does the test take that long? Really, make it one of the prerequicates before a major transplant. Doesn’t seem that hard.

    • Alisha

      @ Marcus im with you on that, thats just stupid not to do a test that important right before the surgery. That should be part of the preping.

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