HIV Policy

I. Purpose and Scope of Guidelines and Procedures

As concern about the dangers of infection of human immune deficiency virus (HIV) increases, Arcadia University recognizes its responsibility to clarify its position on this issue to employees as well as students. The current guidelines and procedures apply directly to Arcadia University students, faculty and all other staff employed by the University.

References herein to “AIDS” are meant to include any of (1) those who are currently healthy but have evidence of exposure to HIV; (2) those who have one of the lesser manifestations of HIV infection;(3) or those who have been diagnosed as having actual cases of AIDS. AIDS is a life threatening, infectious disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus that inhibits the body’s immune system, exposing the person to opportunistic infections. Since medical knowledge indicates that HIV is not spread through casual contact, these guidelines emphasize protection of the rights of persons infected with HIV within the limitations of their medical condition.

The Arcadia University AIDS Task Force based its response to HIV/AIDS on the recommendations issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and most notably from the American College Health Association (ACHA, 1986). Specifically, Arcadia University will adopt the guidelines proposed by the ACHA in dealing with HIV positive cases. The University will base (and revise if necessary) its HIV guidelines/procedures on the latest medical and legal information, and on the professional research recommendations of such organizations as the ACHA, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. (Complete ACHA guidelines can be found in “AIDS on the College Campus,” an ACHA Special Report. Copies are located in Student Health Services, Landman Library, and the Student Affairs Office.)

The ACHA recommends “that institutions not adopt blanket policies concerning people with HIV/AIDS or HIV/AIDS-related conditions, but instead follow flexible guidelines that derive from the best currently available medical facts about HIV/AIDS.” Institutions are advised to “analyze and respond to each case as required by its own particular facts.” Therefore, the principal philosophy that will guide the University’s response to these issues is that each situation or concern must be addressed individually, on a case-by-case basis as determined by the medical facts involved.

II. Guidelines

A. Civil Rights (Title V of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504).

Consideration of the existence of HIV infection shall not be part of the initial admission/employment decision for applicants to Arcadia University.

There shall be no routine requirement that current students or employees be asked to respond to questions about the existence of HIV infection. The University will not engage in mandatory HIV antibody screening of current students and/or employees. Information and/or referral regarding testing sites is available through the University’s Health Services.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits discrimination based on physical or mental handicap or perception of a handicap. Under both Federal and Pennsylvania law, a person with AIDS is considered “handicapped” and is entitled to protection.

B. Confidentiality

The number of people in the University who are aware of the existence and/or identity of persons with HIV shall be kept to an absolute minimum. This will be done in order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the infected individual and to avoid unnecessary fear and anxiety among other members of the University community.

No specific or detailed information concerning complaints or diagnosis shall be provided to faculty, students, administrators, and/or parents without the written permission of the person affected in each particular case. (Buckley amendment to the Family Education and Rights to Privacy Act, 1974).

Confidentiality will be maintained under these guidelines unless there are compelling reasons to disclose information to particular individuals. Such compelling reasons may include cases in which the University learns that an infected individual is knowingly and willingly engaging in activities which pose health risks to others.

C. Housing

Housing arrangements will be looked at on a case-by-case basis with an eye to protecting the rights for all concerned. It is recommended that housing arrangements not be altered by an HIV diagnosis, except when the individual infected decides that it is in his/her best interest, or other exceptional circumstances exist.

D. Access to Campus Facilities and Activities

Unless medical risks exist, people with HIV will not be denied access to any campus facility or activity. These include, but are not limited to, class attendance, athletic events, student organization events, health services facilities and dining facilities.

E. Universal Precautions

Universal Precautions (safety guidelines for handling blood and body fluids) as outlined in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service Centers for Disease Control, MMWR, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, August 21, 1987, 36, [25] shall be standard procedure in all settings, both educational and clinical, because the existence and identity of people with HIV must be considered as unknown.

All laboratory experiences shall be conducted in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Recommended procedures for the decontamination of environmental surfaces and objects soiled by blood or bodily fluids shall be followed at all times.

No student shall be required to obtain or process the blood of another person.

F. Health Care

Medical records are confidential and may be released only with the student’s or employee’s written consent. Medical information provided by an employee may be placed in the employee’s personal records, e.g. for purposes of determining disability benefits.

Students with HIV will have full access to Student Health Services. Student Health Services will function as a liaison with the student’s personal physician. Confidentiality between students and physicians will continue to be observed at Student Health Services. To protect the person infected with HIV special precautions to protect the health of immunologically compromised individuals should be considered during periods of prevalence of contagious diseases.

In accordance with University policy, if necessary, a withdrawal from classes may be provided for the student with HIV. Student Health Services and the treating physician will work collaborately on practices and procedures regarding HIV and AIDS.

G. Education

A major objective of this policy is to provide the general University community with accurate and updated information regarding HIV infection. Student Health Services, in conjunction with Student Affairs and other University offices provide educational programs on an on-going basis. The ultimate goal is to achieve responsible behavior by all members of the University community including resident and commuter students, faculty and other employees of the University.