Historically, it was believed that transplantation in the HIV-infected population was ineffective because anti-rejection drugs would lower the immune system in patients who were already compromised, causing the disease symptoms to become worse. With the availability of highly-improved HIV medications, patients are living longer and transplantation in the HIV-infected population is currently being revisited.
Studies have shown HIV-infected patients tend to have slightly higher rejection rates, and overall function of transplanted kidneys is virtually the same between HIV-infected patients and their non-HIV infected counterparts.
As a result, HIV-infected patients are now considered for the transplantation program. To qualify, patients must meet the routine criteria for candidacy, have an undetectable viral load and have CD4 counts greater than 200 for at least six months. In addition, patients must be evaluated by a transplant infectious disease physician. If you are interested and feel you qualify, discuss this with your nephrologist who can refer you for an evaluation.