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Bill passes in CA to allow HIV-positive organ donation



Today the California legislature unanimously passed a bill which allows HIV-positive donors to donate their organs to HIV-positive recipients.

Senate Bill (SB) 1408 was written by Sen. Ben Allen (D) and co-sponsored by Equality California, AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and Positive Women’s Network-USA.

California criminalizes the transplantation of organs from HIV patients to others in need, even if the recipient is also HIV-positive. The passage of SB 1408 will now allow California to be on par with federal law.

 “These lifesaving surgeries have been proven safe and are now allowable under federal law,” said Sen. Allen.  “There is no reason for state law to maintain an antiquated prohibition on organ donation by HIV-positive persons. By expanding the pool of organ donors, we will shorten the time for all persons on the organ donor waiting lists, and save lives in the process.”

Equality California says that the amount of people needing transplants exceeds the availability of healthy organs. When HB 1408 gets officially signed into law, hundreds of HIV-positive individuals can live extended lives and the waiting list for transplants will shorten.

Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, says it should not be a crime to save someone’s life, but the present antiquated California law is doing just that.

“There are currently HIV-positive people in California waiting desperately for an organ transplant,” Zbur said. “This is the first step in what we hope will be a number of measures to modernize California’s antiquated laws that harm and stigmatize people living with HIV. We urge Governor Brown to sign SB 1408 swiftly.”

Equality California says that SB 1408 is the first step in modernizing state laws which stigmatize people who are living with HIV by treating their illness differently than other communicable diseases.

SB 1408 now goes on to the governor for his signature.

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