Tag Archives: liver

President signs HIV Organ Policy Equity — HOPE — Act into law

President Barack Obama on Nov. 21 signed the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act into law.

The measure had the support of a large coalition of HIV/AIDS organizations, as well as medical organizations. The act passed the House earlier this month and the Senate in June.

The president, in a statement issued after he signed the bill, said, “Earlier today, I signed into law the HIV Organ Policy Equity 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  But as our understanding of HIV and effective treatments have grown, that policy has become outdated.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.”

The president also said, “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.”

Hepatitis C now associated with more deaths than HIV

Chronic hepatitis C virus is now associated with more deaths than HIV infection, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hepatitis C-related deaths have increased sharply in recent years, according to data released on Nov. 8 at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Association for the Studies of Liver Diseases in San Francisco. Researchers reported that HCV contributed to about 3 deaths per 100,000 in 1999, but the rate exceeded 4 per 100,000 people in the United States by 2007.

At the same time, death rates related to HIV infection continue to fall. HIV contributed to 6 per 100,000 deaths in 1999, and the rate dropped to less than four per 100,000 deaths in 2007.

At the same time, the death rates associated with chronic hepatitis B infection – a major cause of liver failure and liver cancer – remained relatively flat between 1999 and 2007.

A total of 12,700 HIV-related deaths were reported in 2007, while more than 15,000 HCV-related deaths were reported that year. 

Most viral hepatitis deaths occurred in people in the prime of their lives, researchers reported. About 59 percent of those who died of complications related to hepatitis B were between the ages of 45 and 64. About 73 percent of deaths related to HCV were among baby boomers.

The hepatitis-related deaths were highest among people co-infected with both HBV and HCV. They faced a 30-fold increase in the risk of death from liver disease or related complications.

Alcohol abuse was associated with a four-fold increase in the risk of death. Co-infection with HIV nearly doubled the risk of death from HBV-related complications and quadrupled the risk of death from HCV-associated liver disease.

The findings were presented by Dr. Scott Holmberg, chief of the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch. The data were culled from 21.8 million deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics between 1999 and 2007.