AIDS/HIV Policy

The American College Health Association (ACHA), with the assistance of the American Council on Education and the Centers for Disease Control, has recommended that institutions not adopt blanket policies concerning students with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or AlDS-Related Conditions (ARC). Instead, it suggests that the institution analyze and respond to each case as required by its own particular facts.

The following facts, according to ACHA, are derived from the best epidemiological data currently available and provide the basis for the guidelines offered by the ACHA:

Students or employees with AIDS, ARC or a positive Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) antibody test do not pose a health risk to other students or employees in an academic setting.

AIDS is thought to be transmitted by intimate sexual contact or by exposure to contaminated blood. Although HIV can be found in many body secretions of those who are infected, its presence there is not necessarily correlated with disease transmission by those fluids. There has been no confirmed case of transmission of AIDS by any household, school or other causal contact.

The Public Health Service states that there is no risk created by living in the same house as an infected person; caring for an AIDS patient; eating food handled by an infected person; being coughed or sneezed upon by an infected person; casual kissing; or swimming in a pool with an infected person. The University adopts the following recommendations of the Public Health Service:

a. Even though they may be asymptomatic, persons with confirmed positive HIV antibody tests may transmit infection to others through anal or vaginal sexual intercourse, the sharing of needles, and possibly, exposure to others through oral-genital contact or intimate kissing.

b. The efficacy of condoms in preventing infection with HIV is unproven, but the consistent use of them may reduce transmission.

c. Toothbrushes, razors, and other implements that may become contaminated with blood should not be shared.

d. Persons with AIDS, ARC, or confirmed positive HIV antibody tests should not donate blood, plasma, other body organs, other body tissues or sperm.

e. If persons with confirmed reactive (positive) antibody tests have accidents involving bleeding, contaminated surfaces should be cleaned with household bleach freshly diluted 1:10 in water.

f. Any student or staff member seeking medical, dental, or eye care, should advise the practitioner of their positive antibody status so that appropriate evaluation can be undertaken and precautions can be taken to prevent transmission to others.

The following guidelines of the ACHA have been adopted by the University and they are applicable to all students or employees who are known to be infected with the virus (HIV), thought to cause AIDS; this includes those who have a condition meeting the surveillance definition of AIDS itself, those who have one of the lesser manifestations of infection, such as ARC, and those who are currently healthy but have evidence, by the presence of a serum antibody to HIV, of exposure to and infection by the virus.

1. Consideration of the existence of AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test shall not be part of the initial admission decision for those applying to attend the institution.

2. The University shall not undertake programs of screening newly admitted or current students for antibody to HIV; neither shall mandatory screening of employees be implemented.

3. Most students who have AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test, whether they are symptomatic or not, should be allowed regular classroom attendance in an unrestricted manner as long as they are physically able to attend classes.

4. There is no medical justification for restricting the access of students with AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test to student unions, theaters, restaurants, cafeterias, snack bars, gymnasiums, swimming pools, recreational facilities or other common areas.

5. The University, through seminars and distribution of materials shall provide all students, and particularly resident students and residence hall staff, with education about AIDS.

6. Neither new nor currently enrolled students are required to inform campus health authorities if they have AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test. However, students are encouraged to do so, in order that the University can provide proper medical care referrals and education.

7. Those who advise the University that they are immunologically compromised may be excused from institutional requirements for certain vaccinations, notably measles and rubella vaccines, as those vaccinations may lead to serious consequences in those with poorly functioning immune systems.

8. University health services are familiar with sources of confidential testing for the antibody to HIV, where both pre- and post-test counseling are available, and can refer students or employees requesting same.

9. Decisions about residential housing of students with AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test shall be made on a case-by-case basis. The best currently available medical information does not support the existence of a risk to those sharing dormitories with infected individuals. However, in some circumstances, there may be reasonable concern for the health of those with AIDS or ARC who might be exposed to certain contagious diseases (e.g., measles or chicken pox) in a close living situation. In such situations, if private residence hall rooms are available, the University may recommend that students with AIDS or ARC be assigned private rooms in the interest of protecting the health of those students.

10. The University has adopted safety guidelines for the handling of blood and body fluids of all students. Laboratories used in a teaching context, such as those required in biology courses, should be safe experiences. Laboratory courses requiring exposure to blood, such as finger pricks for blood typing or examination, should use disposable devices.

11. Consistent with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (the "Buckley Amendment"), no specific or detailed information concerning complaints or diagnosis shall be provided to faculty, administrators, or outside persons, groups, agencies, insurers, employers, institutions or even parents, without the express written permission of the patient in each case.

12. The duty of physicians and other healthcare providers to protect the confidentiality of information is superseded by the necessity to protect others only in very specific, threatening circumstances. University health services must strictly observe public health reporting requirements for AIDS. The number of people in the University who are aware of the existence and/or identity of students or employees who have AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test shall be kept to an absolute minimum, both to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the infected persons and to avoid the generation of unnecessary fear and anxiety among other students and staff.

13. The University encourages regular medical follow-up for those who have AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test.