Capitol Alert

California to allow transplants between HIV-infected people

State Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, urges passage of his emergency legislation that would allow a man with HIV to receive part of his HIV-positive husband's liver, Friday, May 27, 2016, in Sacramento.
State Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, urges passage of his emergency legislation that would allow a man with HIV to receive part of his HIV-positive husband's liver, Friday, May 27, 2016, in Sacramento. AP

A San Francisco surgeon seeking to perform a liver transplant between two patients infected with HIV will be able to proceed after legislators this week rushed through changes to state law.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed Senate Bill 1408, removing a provision that made it illegal for HIV-positive donors to provide tissue, even for another HIV-positive recipient. Federal officials approved regulations for organ transplants between individuals with HIV last November.

Hours earlier, both houses of the Legislature unanimously approved the bill, by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, sending it to the governor’s desk for a signature.

Brown signed SB 1408 without comment, but spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman wrote in an e-mail, “This is a life-saving matter that aligns California with federal law and the governor will sign this bill as soon as it arrives.”

UC San Francisco transplant surgeon Peter Stock visited the Capitol this week urging lawmakers to act quickly to help a patient of his with a failing liver that has become very ill in recent weeks. He said a donor with HIV had volunteered to provide part of his liver and the procedure was approved earlier this month before coming to a halt because state law still makes it illegal.

Editor’s note: This updated was updated through at 1:54 p.m. May 27, 2016 to reflect that Brown signed the bill.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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