The new law, sponsored by state Rep.
Larry McKeon, D-Chicago, allows the organs of an HIV-positive donor
to be transplanted into others who are also infected with the
disease. It takes effect immediately.
"Today [July 15] I am signing landmark
legislation that we believe will enable people with HIV to live
longer, healthier, more productive lives," said Gov. Blagojevich.
"As we learn more about HIV and AIDS and the medications used to
manage the disease, we need to be willing to explore new ways to
treat and care for those with the devastating illness."
While there are other states that have
begun to look into organ transplants from HIV-positive donors,
Illinois is the first to make it legal.
Like many other states, Illinois
previously required the destruction of organs infected with HIV. The
new law will provide an expanded base of available organs and allow
people with HIV/AIDS to qualify for transplants with organs from
"This law will provide a safe and
effective approach for expanding the organ donor pool and allow
patients with HIV to receive organs that would ordinarily be
discarded," said Dr. Patrick Lynch, a hepatologist at Northwestern
Memorial Hospital who testified before the state Senate in support
of the legislation. "In addition to allowing HIV-positive patients
to be transplanted sooner, this amendment would free up
non-HIV-positive organs for other patients. It just makes social and
scientific sense, and I applaud the governor for signing it into
[to top of second column in
Rep. McKeon also applauded the governor
for signing House Bill 3857. "This historic legislation will not
only save lives but prolong those lives as well," he said. "I
commend Governor Blagojevich for his assistance in making this
legislation law. It's the first of its kind in the nation, and I
anticipate that many states will use this legislation as a model."
The state has recorded a total of
31,082 cases of AIDS since 1981. Of those diagnosed with the
disease, 16,725, or 54 percent, have died. Another 11,938
Illinoisans have tested positive for HIV since July 1, 1999, when
the reporting of HIV-positive cases became mandatory. Of those, 97
percent are living today.
administration remains committed to assisting those with HIV/AIDS.
Organ transplants will now become another weapon in our war against
this disease," Gov. Blagojevich said.
[News release from the