Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that suicide rates in the United States had reached a thirty-year high. According to a study released by the National Center for Health Statistics Friday, rates have increased steadily since 1999, with higher annual percent increases since 2006. Suicide rates have increased particularly among women in this time, although increases occurred across nearly all demographic groups, with the exception of black men. Both the recession of 2008 and the increasing availability of opiate drugs for overdose deaths have been indicated as potentially to blame for this surge.
On March 31, surgeons at Johns Hopkins completed the first-ever transplants between an HIV+ donor and HIV+ recipients. A kidney and liver from one HIV+ individual were transplanted into two separate HIV+ patients.
There are additional challenges to matching HIV+ donors and recipients: in particular, physicians must ensure that the donor is not infected with a more aggressive or resistant strain of HIV than the recipient. This means physicians require access to comprehensive records of the donors past medications and response to those medications, which may not always exist.
The current transplant protocol used organs from a cadaveric donor, but Dr. Segev estimates that many HIV+ individuals are healthy enough to act as living donors. Research protocols for living donations at Hopkins will be drafted up later this year. Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia and Mt Sinai Hospital in NYC have both submitted applications to conduct transplants between HIV+ individuals as such organs become available.