Nina Martinez of Atlanta, Georgia, Becomes First Living HIV-Positive Organ Donor

Grant Boone
March 31, 2019

The recipient will no longer have to undergo dialysis for the first time in a year.

The procedure is another step in the evolution of HIV - considered to mean certain death when the AIDS epidemic began in 1981 - and an advance for the 1.1 million people who carry the virus.

The United Network for Organ Sharing has more about transplant statistics. "And I can't figure out any better way to show that people like me can bring life".

"For me, it was an opportunity to be the same as anybody else", Martinez said during a media briefing on Thursday. She said she feels well and is looking forward to training to run in this October's Marine Corps Marathon in Washington. This was during a time when people running blood banks did not routinely test blood donations for potential infections. "Today, they're so healthy they can give someone else life".

Dr. Dorry Segev, one of the surgeons who conducted the organ transplant, believes the landmark operation is a celebration of medical care for HIV patients and how much it has evolved over the years.

An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV and over 113,000 people are on the waiting list for organ transplants. Others are too sick to be listed, or are taken off the list when their disease progresses too far.

In a statement, Segev estimated that between 500 and 600 HIV-positive people who wanted to be organ donors will die each year.

Martinez' organ was implanted in the recipient by a separate team of surgeons, the normal procedure in transplantation.

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She said Jackson had been her phone's screen-saver for years as a reminder to be focused and fearless in how she approached art. Members of the press corrected Nicks as others playfully laughed and she smiled. "I wanted to stand on my own two feet".

"I was watching people with HIV die on our transplant list, and I was watching us have to decline every single potential donor, whether deceased or living, just because they had HIV", Dr Segev told CNN.

After the surgery, both the recipient and Martinez will continue to remain on antiretroviral medication that keeps a tab on HIV. Though, It is likely that the recipient might reject the organ they are being given drugs to prevent it. Those are not expected to significantly interfere with the HIV-suppressing medications. According to The Post, Martinez was in excellent health leading up to the surgery with an undetectable viral load. Familiar with the medical research process and public health policy, she contacted Johns Hopkins. Her HIV is well controlled. She said that she wanted to bring about a new hope into somebody else's life and also wanted to contradict the dishonor associated with it. Martinez said that according to a common notion of people they think that someone with HIV should look under the weather.

In 1983, Martinez and her twin sister were born 12 weeks prematurely in San Jose and soon developed anemia.

A team from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore performed the surgery March 25.

She was watched in school to ensure she wasn't a health hazard to other children, she said. She said she wanted to help clear away some of the stigma surrounding those who live with HIV/AIDS. "Because those people need a mental reboot".

Martinez, a public health consultant and longtime clinical research volunteer, became interested in living donation even before HIV-to-HIV transplants began. A multidisciplinary team from Johns Hopkins Medicine completed the living donor HIV-to-HIV kidney transplant on March 25.

A woman from Atlanta became the first-ever HIV patient to donate and have her kidney transplanted to another person who also has the disease.

Her friend died before Martinez finished the required health tests but she made a decision to honor him by donating to someone she didn't know. If HIV donors could themselves approach for transplantation it will make space in the transplant waiting list for everybody.

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