WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s a breakthrough surgery, the first ever of its kind – and it happened right in downtown Baltimore.

A team of doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital changed the game.

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“For us, this is not only a celebration of transplantation, but a celebration of the progress of HIV care,” said Dr. Dorry Segev, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

For years, people living with HIV have not been able to donate kidneys because of the true concerns that it was too much of a risk factor for kidney disease in the donor.

But after research on more than 40,000 people living with HIV, a team with Hopkins Medicine found that anti-retro-viral drugs are safe for the kidney, and those with well controlled HIV are healthy enough to donate.

“I knew I was the one they had been waiting for,” said Nina Martinez, the donor.

35-year-old Nina Martinez, the kidney donor living with HIV, began this process with her wanting to donate a kidney to a friend in need who also had HIV.

Martinez- who lives in Atlanta- contacted Hopkins, and traveled to Baltimore where she went through nine months of testing. But before she was cleared, her friend passed away.

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While battling emotions- Martinez wanted to finish what she started- honoring her friend by still donating.

This time, to an anonymous recipient.

“I am a long-time clinical research volunteer so I feel like the last 15 years, I’ve been training for this critical research marathon,” Martinez said.

The successful surgery this past week is now making worldwide headlines. But it’s not only changing lives, it could be changing the way people view HIV forever.

“The more exciting part of this milestone is that it really changes the narrative about HIV,” said Dr. Christine Durand, associate professor of medicine.

“That’s what makes it magical is that anyone can do this anywhere in the world, providing they screen the patients properly,” said Dr. Segev.

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