California lawmakers approved emergency legislation Friday to allow a man with HIV to receive part of his HIV-positive husband’s liver before the surgery becomes too dangerous, possibly within weeks.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown promptly signed the bill, which takes effect immediately.
The federal government recently authorized transplants of HIV-infected organs to patients who have the disease, but it remained illegal under California law and in more than a dozen other states, a leftover fear from the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s.
But advances in testing have since diminished concerns about donated tissue, and antiretroviral medications now allow patients to live for decades with HIV. The California legislation paves the way for any HIV-positive transplant patient to receive organs from living or deceased people with HIV. For patients willing to receive an HIV-infected organ, the wait time could be cut from many years to six months or less.