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Man in Japan infected with both HIV and hep C got priority liver transplant, now back at work

Kyodo

A man in his 40s infected through contaminated blood products with both HIV and hepatitis C recently underwent liver transplant surgery, the first person to benefit from revised guidelines in Japan giving priority for the surgery to such patients, sources said.

The transplant in June was the first since regulations were revised in 2012 to give priority to HIV/hepatitis C-infected liver cirrhosis patients who are at greater risk than those infected with hepatitis C alone, the sources said Monday.

“Liver cirrhosis of double-infected patients frequently makes more rapid progress, leading them to die at younger ages,” said Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences professor Susumu Eguchi.

The man underwent the transplant surgery at a hospital in Kyushu and has returned to work, said the doctor who performed the surgery.

Transplant priority for such patients was raised after a government-organized group of researchers found that liver cirrhosis patients infected with both HIV and hepatitis C are less likely to survive.

It had been very difficult for any patient with less serious liver cirrhosis to receive a liver transplant before the change paved the way for double-infected patients even with less serious liver cirrhosis to receive priority.

At least three such patients in Japan are now waiting for liver transplants, according to Social Welfare Corp. Habataki Welfare Project, a support group for people infected with HIV through contaminated blood products.