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HIV+ Patients Fare Better in Kidney Transplant Than Hep C+

Refuting common wisdom, research shows that these patients fared better than those with hepatitis C

FRIDAY, April 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Patients living with HIV have better outcomes following kidney transplantation than those infected with hepatitis C, or patients infected with both viruses, according to a study published online March 25 in Kidney International.

Deirdre Sawinski, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined data from 124,035 adults who received kidney transplants between 1996 and 2013. The researchers found a three-year survival rate of 89 percent for those with HIV — nearly the same as the 90 percent survival seen among uninfected patients. However, survival rates were lower — 84 percent — for those with hepatitis C, and 73 percent for those infected with both HIV and hepatitis C.

“Our hope is that these study findings result in greater access to transplantation for HIV patients,” Sawinski said in a university news release. She also hopes the findings will spur “the kidney transplant community to focus on eradicating hepatitis C in transplant patients — either pre-transplant or if that’s not possible, immediately post-transplant — to ensure better outcomes for these patients.”

Currently, HIV patients must have an undetectable viral load to receive a kidney transplant, but the same requirement does not apply to hepatitis C patients, the researchers explained. The study authors said that less than 25 percent of transplant centers in the United States offer kidney transplants to HIV patients. Nationwide, fewer kidney transplants are done in people with HIV than those with hepatitis C.

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