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HHS issues updated organ transplantation guidance

June 20, 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services yesterday issued updated guidance for reducing unexpected disease transmission through organ transplantation. The Public Health Service guidance was last updated in 1994. Among other changes, the new guidance recommends that donors be screened for the hepatitis B and C viruses in addition to HIV, and the use of more sensitive laboratory testing for living and deceased organ donors. It also includes a revised set of risk factors for HIV and hepatitis infection, and recommends a robust informed consent discussion between the transplant candidate and clinician. “Putting these new recommendations into practice will allow doctors and patients to make better, more informed decisions when accepting organs for transplantation,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, M.D.