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HIV Patients Do Well After Kidney Transplants: Study
Date:11/18/2010

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A large, new study provides more evidence that people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, do almost as well on the survival front as other patients when they undergo kidney transplants.

Up until the mid-1990s, physicians tended to avoid giving kidney transplants to HIV patients because of fear that AIDS would quickly kill them. Since then, new medications have greatly lengthened life spans for HIV patients, and surgeons routinely perform kidney transplants on them in some urban hospitals.

The study authors, led by Dr. Peter G. Stock, a professor of surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, examined the medical records of 150 HIV-infected patients who underwent kidney transplantation between 2003 and 2009. They report their findings in the Nov. 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers found that about 95 percent of the transplant patients lived for one year and about 88 percent lived for three years. Those survival rates fall between those for kidney transplant patients in general and those who are aged 65 and over.

"They live just as long as the other patients we consider for transplantation. They're essentially the same as the rest of our patients," said transplant specialist Dr. Silas P. Norman, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. Norman was not part of the study team.

There was one troubling finding: the bodies of HIV patients were more likely to reject the kidneys than the bodies of other transplant patients. It's likely that surgeons will need to better tailor their procedures to help prevent organ rejection, said transplant surgeon Dr. Dorry Segev. This should happen as surgeons gain more experience with transplants in HIV patients, said Segev, an associate professor of surgery and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Medical Instituti
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