New hope for HIV patients having kidney failure

In an indication that medical science is growing fast to provide equal access to HIV patients, Manipal Hospitals has conducted a successful renal transplant on a HIV-positive Nigerian national.

 The Nigerian, a 37-year-old businessman, was diagnosed with retroviral infection and has been on continuous antiretroviral therapy for six years.

Like many others prone to co-morbid conditions, he suffered severe renal damage and was on hemodialysis, doctors said. For someone already dealing with HIV, he appeared to be losing the battle, fighting renal failure. He was evaluated by a multi-speciality team and was advised to undergo renal transplant.

His brother was identified as the donor. His antiretroviral therapy was then optimised and he underwent a living renal transplant last month. Doctors took precautions in patient care to prevent the spread of infection as the patient was HIV-positive.

Dr H Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman, Manipal Hospitals, said, “Renal transplant in HIV-positive patients needs experienced specialists to ensure that his body does not reject the donor organ while ensuring the HIV infection does not flare up. In addition, the multiple complexities of drug interaction between retroviral medications and immunosuppressive medications need to be addressed.

Many medical centres across the world are successfully doing kidney transplants among HIV-positive patients. However, HIV is still considered a contraindication to kidney transplant in most Indian hospitals.”

The patient, who was initially worried, said he would encourage others to undergo transplant. “There is usually a taboo towards HIV-positive patients. My apprehensions were put to end by the support of the doctors. I feel absolutely healthy now.”

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