Background: HIV-infected (HIV+) donor to HIV+ recipient (HIV D+/R+) transplantation might improve access to transplantation for people living with HIV. However, it remains unknown whether transplant candidates living with HIV will accept the currently unknown risks of HIV D+/R+ transplantation.
Methods: We surveyed transplant candidates living with HIV from 9 US transplant centers regarding willingness to accept HIV+ donor organs.
Results: Among 116 participants, the median age was 55 years, 68% were men, and 78% were African American. Most were willing to accept HIV+ living donor organs (87%), HIV+ deceased donor organs (84%), and increased infectious risk donor organs (70%). Some (30%) were concerned about HIV superinfection; even among these respondents, 71% were willing to accept an HIV D+ organ. Respondents from centers that had already performed a transplant under an HIV D+/R+ transplantation research protocol were more willing to accept HIV+ deceased donor organs (89% vs. 71%, P = 0.04). Respondents who chose not to enroll in an HIV D+/R+ transplantation research protocol were less likely to believe that HIV D+/R+ transplantation was safe (45% vs. 77%, P = 0.02), and that HIV D+ organs would work similar to HIV D- organs (55% vs. 77%, P = 0.04), but more likely to believe they would receive an infection other than HIV from an HIV D+ organ (64% vs. 13%, P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Willingness to accept HIV D+ organs among transplant candidates living with HIV does not seem to be a major barrier to HIV D+/R+ transplantation and may increase with growing HIV D+/R+ transplantation experience.