President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law a bill that ends the ban on organ transplants from one person with HIV to another.

The HIV Organ Policy Equity Act (HOPE) passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support.

“For decades, these organ transplants have been illegal. It was even illegal to study whether they could be safe and effective,” Obama said in an emailed statement. “But as our understanding of HIV and effective treatments have grown, that policy has become outdated. The potential for successful organ transplants between people living with HIV has become more of a possibility. The HOPE Act lifts the research ban, and, in time, it could lead to live-saving organ donations for people living with HIV while ensuring the safety of the organ transplant process and strengthening the national supply of organs for all who need them.”

“Improving care for people living with HIV is critical to fighting the epidemic, and it's a key goal of my National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” Obama added. “The HOPE Act marks an important step in the right direction, and I thank Congress for their action.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, ending the ban could save the lives of up to 1,000 HIV-positive patients with liver or kidney failure each year.