Mississippians living with HIV get transplant options near them

JACKSON, Mississippi (WJTV) – For Mississippians living with HIV, organ failure caused by the rigors of their illness can be far more deadly than the infection they are living with.

Executives at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson said many patients have had to travel out of state for transplants because their HIV or AIDS status requires a different level of expertise. Now, they can receive life-saving kidneys at UMMC, which offers the state’s only organ and bone marrow transplant program.

Dr Prakhar Vijayvargiya and Dr Zerelda Esquer Garrigos, both Assistant Professors in the Division of Infectious Diseases of the Department of Medicine, will work in conjunction with the UMMC transplant team to manage the care of this patient population prone to the infections.

“Patients living with HIV are in an immunosuppressed state and the management of immunosuppressive drugs and HIV will require dedicated training,” said Dr. Pradeep Vaitla, Medical Director of Kidney and Pancreatic Transplantation. “You need someone trained in this area to manage these patients, and that’s what these two people bring to the table.

Garrigos and Vijayvargiya will also manage the pre- and post-transplant care of non-HIV-positive patients who received a kidney from a donor infected with hepatitis C. Previously, hepatitis C patients received transplants at UMMC, but patients not infected with hepatitis did not receive an organ from a donor positive for hepatitis C.

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