HIV positive woman becomes 1st living kidney donor

An Atlanta woman has made history by becoming the first living HIV-positive person to donate a kidney to an HIV-positive recipient.Nina Martinez, a 36-year-old public health consultant, who is otherwise healthy and has her HIV under “excellent control,” donated her kidney at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, to a donor who wishes to remain anonymous and both are doing well, the hospital reports.

Martinez has lived with the illness since she was six-weeks-old, when she contracted HIV from a blood transfusion back in 1983 before blood banks started screening for the virus. She says access to health care has been a “huge contributor” to her health and she hopes her story will inspire others to become living organ donors, whether they’re HIV-negative or -positive.

Nina is also trying to encourage "I really want people to reconsider what living with HIV means," she said from her hospital bed two days after her operation. "If anyone is proof that you can live a lifetime with HIV, that is myself. I've been living with HIV for 35 years -- pretty much the length of the epidemic in the United States."

Dr. Dorry Segev,who performed Martinez’s surgery calls the historic operation “really a celebration of HIV medical care and its evolution.”

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