POLICY ON AIDS

INTRODUCTION

In response to the City of Philadelphia's regulatory requirements and the complex medical, education and procedural issues raised by the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a Task Force on AIDS was convened by the Vice President for Student Affairs in January, 1988. The committee was charged with developing guidelines to assist the University community to deal effectively with the AIDS crises. The task force consisted of representatives from the Student Health Services, the Resident Life Office and the Counseling Center as well as the faculty and student body. Important in the task force's deliberations and decisions was the commitment to:

* acquire the most current available information for developing guidelines;

* apply existing University policies and federal and state laws to any case of AIDS;

* develop effective systems for the education and protection of all University students and personnel; and,

* demonstrate sensitivity and informed direction in dealing with the many human relations concerns which may arise in response to efforts to increase awareness and to provide preventive education.

This report is based on recommendations and medical information obtained from the American College Health Association (ACHA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

 

GENERAL GUIDELINES

In order to provide the maximum support to the person with AIDS and protection for the welfare of the La Salle University Community, a case-by-case approach will be used. The authority for case consideration rests with the President, Provost, appropriate Vice President and the Medical Director of the Student Health Services in consultation with the Health Services Advisory Committee or the Affirmative Action Officer.

La Salle University's Health Services Advisory Committee will have the following responsibilities regarding AIDS:

1) Develop and monitor educational programs intended to increase awareness of AIDS and HIV infection within the University community and to prevent the transmission of AIDS.

2) Serve in a consultative capacity when requested regarding individual cases of HIV infection in light of stated guidelines, various federal, state and local regulations and other institutional polices regarding employment and student status. In cases involving students, recommendations will be made to the Dean of Student. For faculty and staff, recommendations will be made to the Provost or the appropriate Vice President. The confidentiality and anonymity of affected person(s) is an absolute priority and any such discussions are to be conducted without knowledge of individual names.

3) Serve in an advisory capacity to University administrators regarding the institutional response to AIDS.

4) Review and update the University's AIDS guidelines and protocols by considering changes in the available knowledge regarding AIDS in national and state policies, and in University policies.

SPECIFIC GUIDELINES

Admission and Employment

Consideration of the existence of AIDS or a positive HIV test will not be part of the initial decision for admission or employment.

Handicapping Conditions

It is clear that persons with AIDS itself (possibly, those with other manifestations of HIV infection) will be considered as having handicapping conditions; in making decisions, University officers are advised to guarantee the legal rights of these individuals under various federal, state, and local regulations.

Attendance

Students who have HIV infection, whether they are symptomatic or not, will be allowed regular classroom attendance in an unrestricted manner as long as they are physically and mentally able to attend class.

Access to Facilities

The access of students or staff with HIV infection to student unions, theaters, restaurants, snack bars, gymnasiums, swimming pools, saunas, recreational facilities or other common areas should not be restricted.

Residential Housing

The best medical information currently available does not support the existence of a risk to those sharing housing with or around infected persons since HIV is not transmitted by any form of casual or household contact. There is no general justification for excluding infected persons from University housing to protect others from casual transmission.

The individual evaluation of each case should dictate the response by the University and the Resident Life staff. The following options to protect healthy individuals, those with AIDS or a positive test for HIV, and the University should be enacted:

1) Encourage individuals who are AIDS-affected to inform Student Health Services about their condition. Provide or arrange for competent and frequent medical follow-up and detailed education of the affected person regarding the transmission of the virus and the steps necessary to prevent transmission.

2) Policies and Procedures: All policies and procedures must conform with applicable federal, state, and local regulations.

3) Confidentiality: It must be protected. Only those University officials providing direct medical or psychological services to an affected person need to know any information concerning the individual situation.

4) Public Relations: A single individual will be the designated respondent to public inquiries. Policy should be stated forthrightly and clearly, but he or she should refuse to provide specific information about individuals or residence halls.

Medical Care

Students are encouraged to inform the Student Health Services if they are HIV infected to enable the University to provide appropriate medical care, support, counsel and education. As with other medical information, this information will be handled confidentially subject to the procedures and policies in effect.

The Student Health Services will make referrals to appropriate sources for medical, physiological and related support services for people with HIV infection and those concerned about AIDS. The Counseling Center and the Campus Ministry Center also will provide counseling or referral to those infected with HIV and/or those concerned with AIDS. Special precautions to protect the health of immunologically compromised individuals will be considered during periods of prevalence of such contagious diseases as measles and chicken pox.

Those who are known to be immunologically compromised will be excused from institutional requirements for certain vaccinations, especially measles and rubella vaccines since these vaccinations may lead to serious consequences in those with an altered immune system.

HIV Antibody Testing

The University Student Health Services will be familiar with sources of testing for HIV antibodies and will respond to those requesting such testing.

Confidentiality

The standards of confidentiality of La Salle University regarding people known or suspected to have HIV infection will be those developed by the American College Health Association's Recommended Standards and Practices for a College Health Program (Fourth Edition). In general, it is recommended that no specific or detailed information concerning complaints or diagnosis be provided to faculty, administrators, or even parents, without the express written consent of the patient. In addition, no information concerning a patient will be given to any person, group, agency, insurer, employer or institution without the prior written consent of the patient. This position with respect to records is supported by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of l974. Confidential medical information is protected by statutes and any unauthorized disclosure of it may create legal liability. The University, however, is obligated to conform to the public health reporting requirements mandated by law.

Safety Precautions

The University has adopted the safety guidelines proposed by the United States Health Services for handling blood and body fluids of all person, not just those known previously to HIV infection. These universal precautions are necessary because many people with HIV infection are not identified in advance. The same procedures should be followed for handling the blood or body fluid of any person.

Harassment

As a result of the fear, anxiety and anger that many people feel in reaction to AIDS, some students or employees who are known to be or suspected to being infected with HIV may be subjected to emotional and/or physical abuse. Consistent with La Salle University's respect for the dignity of the individual, all such occurrences will be condemned as intolerable and be responded to quickly and effectively.

 FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON LA SALLE'S AIDS POLICY, REFER TO THE OFFICIAL POLICY DOCUMENT AVAILABLE IN THE HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICE OR THE CONNELLY LIBRARY.