National Landscape of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Positive Deceased Organ Donors in the United States

Academic Article


  • Background: Organ transplantation from donors with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to recipients with HIV (HIV D+/R+) presents risks of donor-derived infections. Understanding clinical, immunologic, and virologic characteristics of HIV-positive donors is critical for safety. Methods: We performed a prospective study of donors with HIV-positive and HIV false-positive (FP) test results within the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act in Action studies of HIV D+/R+ transplantation ( NCT02602262, NCT03500315, and NCT03734393). We compared clinical characteristics in HIV-positive versus FP donors. We measured CD4 T cells, HIV viral load (VL), drug resistance mutations (DRMs), coreceptor tropism, and serum antiretroviral therapy (ART) detection, using mass spectrometry in HIV-positive donors. Results: Between March 2016 and March 2020, 92 donors (58 HIV positive, 34 FP), representing 98.9% of all US HOPE donors during this period, donated 177 organs (131 kidneys and 46 livers). Each year the number of donors increased. The prevalence of hepatitis B (16% vs 0%), syphilis (16% vs 0%), and cytomegalovirus (CMV; 91% vs 58%) was higher in HIV-positive versus FP donors; the prevalences of hepatitis C viremia were similar (2% vs 6%). Most HIV-positive donors (71%) had a known HIV diagnosis, of whom 90% were prescribed ART and 68% had a VL <400 copies/mL. The median CD4 T-cell count (interquartile range) was 194/μL (77-331/μL), and the median CD4 T-cell percentage was 27.0% (16.8%-36.1%). Major HIV DRMs were detected in 42%, including nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (33%), integrase strand transfer inhibitors (4%), and multiclass (13%). Serum ART was detected in 46% and matched ART by history. Conclusion: The use of HIV-positive donor organs is increasing. HIV DRMs are common, yet resistance that would compromise integrase strand transfer inhibitor-based regimens is rare, which is reassuring regarding safety.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Werbel WA; Brown DM; Kusemiju OT; Doby BL; Seaman SM; Redd AD; Eby Y; Fernandez RE; Desai NM; Miller J
  • Start Page

  • 2010
  • End Page

  • 2019
  • Volume

  • 74
  • Issue

  • 11