Mississippians living with HIV gain transplant options close to home

Focused On Health

Courtesy of UMMC

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – For Mississippians who have with HIV, organ failure caused by the rigors of their disease can be significantly more life threatening than the infection they live with.

Leaders with 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 Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases, will work together with UMMC’s transplant team to manage the care of that infection-prone patient population.

“Patients living with HIV are in an immunocompromised state, and managing immunosuppressive medications and HIV will require dedicated training,” said Dr. Pradeep Vaitla, medical director of kidney and pancreas transplantation. “You need someone trained in this field to manage these patients, and that’s what these two folks bring to the table.

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

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories