red cross doctors hiv

World’s first liver transplant from HIV+ mom to her critically-ill HIV- child

The South African doctors have achieved the world’s first ever HIV positive-to-HIV negative liver transplant.

red cross doctors hiv

Faced with the only chance to save a child’s life, doctors in South Africa have performed a medical first — transplanting part of the liver from an HIV-positive mother to her child who does not have the disease, it was announced Thursday.

Doctors not certain how the child did not contract HIV after historic transplant

The doctors at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg revealed that one year after the operation, the child may not have caught the virus from her new liver.

The child had a terminal liver disease and would have died without the transplant.

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Medication given to the child

“may have prevented the transmission of HIV. However, we will only know this conclusively over time,” said Jean Botha, chief surgeon at the university.

The team of doctors performed the world’s first liver transplant from a mother living with HIV to her critically-ill child who did not contract it, who had been waiting 180 days for a donor.

They said that the mother and child, who have not been identified, have fully recovered and are in good health.

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The mother, who was being successfully treated with antiretroviral medication, had repeatedly asked to donate her liver to save her child’s life — posing a major ethical dilemma for doctors due to the risk of HIV transmission.

South Africa has the world’s largest treatment programme of the infection and the use of positive donors could help tackle the severe shortage of donors.

In 2017, 14 children waiting for liver transplants in Johannesburg died before having the operation.

“We hope that this ground-breaking operation will be the first of many like it and will contribute towards promoting justice and equity in liver transplantation,” June Fabian, research director at the university’s medical centre, said in a press release.

A paper detailing the case was published on Thursday in the peer-reviewed AIDS medical journal.