Publication Details

Gokool, S., Fabian, J., Francois Venter, W. D., MacPhail, C. & Naicker, S. (2010). HIV-positive kidney transplants for HIV-positive individuals: Attitudes and concerns of South African patients and health care workers. South African Medical Journal, 100 (2), 96-98.


In South Africa, an estimated 30% of the cadaveric donor pool is HIV-infected; in consequence, these organs are discarded. An undersupply of donor organs combined with limited resources, tends to exclude HIV-positive patients from renal replacement programmes. We evaluated the acceptance of using HIV-positive donor kidneys for transplantation into HIV-infected recipients, and found that the vast majority (90% of health care workers and 80% of patients, N=20 and 80, respectively) found this approach acceptable for expanding the organ donor pool, which indicates broad patient and health care worker support for using HIV-infected donor kidneys.Participants: 80 patients were recruited from four different groups: those with HIV on stable antiretroviral (ARV) therapy but with no kidney disease; stable antiretroviral therapy, with kidney disease, including on dialysis; and HIV-uninfected patients, both on dialysis and those with functional kidney transplants. Discussions with 20 health care workers were also conducted. Results: The vast majority (90% of health care workers and 80% of patients, n=20 and 80 respectively) found transplant of HIV-infected organs to HIV-positive recipients an acceptable method for expanding the organ donor pool. This study found no significant difference between the groups of patients regarding whether they approved of using HIV-positive donors; HIV positive patients were willing to accept kidneys from HIV-infected family members, while HIV-negative patients were very unlikely to accept HIV-infected organs. Health care workers expressed concern about initiatives to expand the donor pool and educate patients concerning transplant eligibility. Conclusion: These findings indicate broad patient and health care worker support for the use of HIV-infected donor kidneys for some types of renal patients.