HIV Liver Transplant

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In 2017, doctors from the Transplant Unit at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre performed what is believed to be the world’s first intentional liver transplant from a mother living with HIV to her critically ill HIV negative child, who had end-stage liver disease.“In the weeks after the transplant, we thought that the child was HIV positive, because we detected HIV antibodies,” says Botha.

The transplant team then accessed specialised testing by HIV experts  of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) who subsequently could not find any active HIV infection in the blood stream of the child, meaning there is a chance that the child is HIV negative. Caroline Tiemessen is Research Professor in the School of Pathology at Wits and head of Cell Biology within the Centre for HIV and STIs at the NICD.