Delaware Public Media

HIV positive organ donors, recipients could be paired together under new bill

Jan 24, 2017

People who are HIV positive could start donating their organs to science or those who also have also contracted HIV under a new bill.

The proposal from state Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) would legalize the practice, which is currently a felony under a 1988 law.


“Right now, Delaware is the only state in the country that has this kind of prohibition. Again, it’s sort of a very unfortunate leftover from a decades old law, but it could really make a difference in people’s lives – it could save lives,” Townsend said.


A team from Johns Hopkins University performed the first successful kidney and liver transplants between HIV positive patients in America last March.


“We know medically it can be done, we know the safety protocols are in place, medical professionals are on board with this, the tests are available to make sure this is done properly and safely so now it’s just a matter of saving lives,” he said.

Congress lifted the blanket federal ban three years ago that has been in place since 1988.

Several groups, including the Medical Society of Delaware, AIDS Delaware and Equality Delaware are supporting the bipartisan bill.

A Senate committee will consider the bill Wednesday.