HIV-Positive Renal Recipients Can Achieve Survival Rates Similar to Those of HIV-Negative Patients

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Background.Although patients positive for HIV were once thought to be unsuitable candidates for kidney transplantation, their increasing numbers with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy has indicated that they should no longer be excluded for transplantation. To counteract suggestions that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients received suboptimal kidneys, we provide studies of kidneys transplanted from the same donor into patients with and without HIV.Methods.United Network for Organ Sharing kidney transplant data between 1997 and 2004 were analyzed. Graft and patient survival of 38 HIV patients who had received a renal transplant were compared with the survival of 38 recipients who had received a graft from the same donor.Results.The 38 HIV-positive recipients were younger (49.0 vs. 52.3 years, P=0.14) and had lower peak panel-reactive antibodies (PRA; 5.1% vs. 15.6%, P=0.07) when compared with their bilateral donor to HIV-negative recipients. Sirolimus was used more frequently in HIV patients than in non-HIV patients (36.8% vs. 23.7%, P=0.09). The serum creatinine at 1, 3, and 5 years posttransplantation were higher in HIV patients when compared to non-HIV patients. Although not statistically significant, graft survival was higher among HIV-positive patients compared with their negative controls (76.1% vs. 65.1% at 5 years, P=0.21), as was patient survival (91.3% vs. 87.3% at 5 years, P=0.72). More grafts failed due to death with a functioning graft than rejection in HIV-positive patients.Conclusion.This study supports the position that there is no longer an ethical question surrounding the use of kidneys for HIV-positive patients.

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