A state representative here in Michigan, Felicia Brabec, has proposed a bill that would allow HIV-positive persons to be organ donors for other HIV-positive persons in the state. Currently, Michigan law does not allow HIV-positive persons to be organ donors and, therefore, lifesavers, regardless of their status or the status of the patient potentially receiving them.
Brabec, a Democrat from Washtenaw County, has introduced the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act or the HOPE Act for short.
“It allows folks who are HIV-positive to be organ donors and the recipient needs to be HIV-positive,” Brabec told Fox 2. “So, what it does, it just opens up our organ transplant world.”
Gift of Life Michigan CEO Dorrie Dills told Fox 2 said she supports the bill.
“It will eliminate barriers and allow transplant centers to use organs right here in Michigan,” she said. “Right now, when we recover these types of organs we have to send them outside of our state.”
Local LGBTQ+ leaders are also calling for the bill’s passage.
“Michigan’s health code is outdated, which means life-saving organs are sent out of state,” said Equality Michigan Executive Director Erin Knott. “The HOPE Act modernizes the code and would allow donated organs to benefit Michigan patients who are waiting for life-saving gifts. It also brings Michigan in line with federal law. I urge the legislature to pass this measure as soon as possible.”
Royale Theus, outreach manager for Matrix Human Services — an HIV prevention organization — said the bill could bring hope to many.
“I think it’s well overdue especially seeing how it’s being done in other states. It’s unfortunate that [we] would take organs and have to ship them to other states because we have a law prohibiting such help here to others in need of organs. We need to really push to make sure this happens. It will give hope to HIV-positive Michiganders.”