03/30/2016 13:13 EDT | Updated 03/31/2017 01:12 EDT

Hopkins begins nation's first HIV-positive organ transplants

WASHINGTON — Surgeons in Baltimore have performed the nation's first organ transplants between HIV-positive people. It's a long-awaited new option to extend the lives of patients with the AIDS virus whose kidneys or livers also are failing.

Johns Hopkins University says two HIV-positive patients are recovering well after one received a kidney and the other a liver from a deceased donor who also had HIV — organs that ordinarily would have been thrown away.

A ban on the use of organs from HIV-infected donors was lifted by a 2013 law. But this applies only to people who also are infected, not anyone else. The Hopkins surgeries, announced Wednesday but performed earlier this month, are part of research to prove if HIV-to-HIV transplants really work.

Lauran Neergaard, The Associated Press