The History of the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA)

The National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) was passed in 1984. It was amended at the height of the AIDS scare to ban transplants from HIV-infected donors. At that time, the medical community did not even know that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was the virus that caused acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Ironically, the same omnibus bill that banned HIV-infected organ transplants also provided funding for AIDS research. Read the National Organ Transplant Act online.

Since the ban was created in the 1980’s, there have been significant developments in HIV research and treatment, allowing HIV-positive individuals to live decades longer than originally anticipated in the 1980’s. With extended lifespans come medical problems that are also faced by the general population – such as organ failure. Studies have shown that HIV-positive patients who require organ transplants fare well after receiving an organ from another HIV-positive patient.

In the United States, the only way to conduct research on transplants from HIV-infected donors is to amend the original act and repeal the ban.