What if HIV infection was the only way to save your life?
I read an article last week that really made me think. The article (posted on the LA Times website – click here if you’d like to read the article) discussed the existing federal ban on harvesting organs from HIV-infected donors. On the surface, this law sounds like a good idea. But is it antiquated?
The article goes on to discuss the possibility of using HIV infected organs in patients who are already HIV positive. It says that as many as 20 people die per day while waiting on organ transplants.
This ban was implemented in 1984 (the year, not the book) when a diagnosis of HIV was considered a death sentence. True, there is no cure, but it has really become a “chronic illness” that, for many, can be controlled with medication.
The prospect of using HIV infected organs in HIV positive patients is one thing (and there is currently a lot of uncertainty regarding other possible risks to the patients). There’s also the prospect of “freeing up” the non-infected organs for the people who do not have HIV…but it got me to thinking: what if I needed an organ to live and the ONLY way for me to live was to infect me with HIV?
It’s not necessarily a simple question to answer, but it is thought provoking to say the least. Think about it: would you rather live with HIV or not live at all? Would you rather die than have to live a very careful life as not to infect others? What cost are you willing to put on having more time with the people you love? If you believe in an afterlife, is it better to pass from this life to the next rather than incurring MORE medical bills and possibly infecting the people you love?
I don’t know; maybe for some that choice would be easier than for others, but it seems to me that it’s certainly worth thinking about.