NY’s 1st HIV positive organ transplant recipient advocates for minority donor awareness

August was National Minority Donor Awareness Month, but advocates for organ donation say they continue to raise awareness all year-round for those who are fighting for transplants.

News 12 Staff

Sep 1, 2020, 11:10 AM

Updated 1,358 days ago

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August was National Minority Donor Awareness Month, but advocates for organ donation say they continue to raise awareness all year-round for those who are fighting for transplants.

Ken Teasley was the recipient of a life-changing kidney transplant, that wasn’t always guaranteed because he is HIV positive.
He says when the HOPE Act came to fruition, he was able to actually take part in the organ transplant program.
The HOPE Act broke down barriers when it reversed the ban on organ donation between HIV patients in 2013.
Teasley became New York's first transplant recipient under the act in 2016.
Now, he works closely with various advocacy groups to educate others and raise awareness, including the group that helped coordinate his own transplant, Live On New York.
According to the organization, 60% of those waiting for an organ in the United States are people of color. Teasley says that is in part why he signed up to be a donor in 2018.
“If just one person does it, I have done my job.The more information you have, the better your health outcomes will be,” says Teasley.
Speaking from firsthand experience, since Teasley has not only battled kidney disease but cancer and a stroke as well. A recent re-evaluation of his transplant also revealed that he'll likely need another in the next five to 10 years.
“At this point, I am in the same place I was 27 years ago, but the difference is, the amount of knowledge I have right now,” says Teasley.


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