AIDS Policy

General University Policies Manual
Effective: 10/15/1997

 

The following policies cover AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease Syndrome), ARC (AIDS Related Complex) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection. Wherever the words "HIV infection" appear, ARC and AIDS are also implied.

Policies Pertaining to Students

Based on current information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American College Health Association, the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Surgeon General's Report on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, the University recognizes there is no documented evidence that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is spread through ordinary contact between one person and another. The National Centers for Disease Control and the Oregon State Health Division stress that there is no known health reason to exclude persons with AIDS or carriers of the HIV virus from campus and academic or social activities.

The fact that there is no current evidence that HIV infection can be transmitted by casual contact suggests that the University procedures concerning protection of researchers in University laboratories, instruction in classrooms, sanitation standards in student housing and in food service operations, and medical practice in Student Health Services adequately address the majority of concerns that may occur. If situations arise in which existing policies and procedures do not apply or in which it is necessary to make a case-by-case decision, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs shall consult with the Director of Student Health Services, the University legal advisor, and any other relevant staff member/party to review the matter and provide a recommendation of action. The University policies involving students shall include:

  1. Access to Facilities: Students with HIV infection shall have full access to residence halls, libraries, student union, dining areas, physical education facilities, swimming pools, saunas, theaters, restaurants, rest rooms, or other common areas.
  2. Admissions: Consideration of the existence of HIV infection shall not be part of the admission decision for prospective students.
  3. Attendance: Students with HIV infection shall be allowed normal classroom attendance, usual employment opportunities, and participation in co-curricular activities (social, cultural, and athletic events) without restriction as long as they are physically able. Students who experience anxiety about the risk of infection and refuse to attend class because of the presence of a fellow student or an instructor who is HIV-infected, or perceived to be infected, shall receive counseling as to current medical information related to the risk of exposure to HIV infection through routine contact in the classroom. Continued unreasonable refusal to attend class shall be handled by the instructor in accordance with Academic Regulation 14 "Attendance." Counseling of the student shall be coordinated by University Counseling and Psychological Services.
  4. Confidentiality: AIDS is a reportable disease in Oregon. Except for legally required reporting which is consistent with Oregon law, confidentiality of medical conditions shall be maintained. A student’s medical records are confidential information and, as such, may not be released without the individual’s written permission except as otherwise provided by law. There is no medical necessity to advise students, faculty, or co-workers of the presence of persons who have HIV infection.
  5. Education: Through Student Health Services and academic units, an ongoing educational program about HIV infection will be provided to students. The role of Student Health Services is outlined in a separate section Policies Pertaining to Student Health Services.

    Student Health Services shall have an ongoing program to provide current information in the form of pamphlets, audiovisual aids, and programs to the student population. This is further outlined in a separate section, "Policies for Delivering Current Information to the Campus Community."

  6. Financial Aid: University policies relating to financial aid apply equally to all students attending the University. If the course load of a student with HIV infection must be modified or reduced for medical reasons, existing guidelines pertaining to reduced course loads shall be followed.
  7. Food Services: Students with HIV infection shall have full access to all residence dining halls, housing cooperative dining rooms, private contracted food facilities (i.e. College Inn), fraternity and sorority dining rooms, and University regulated cash operated restaurants, concession outlets, convenience stores, and catered events without restriction to co-curricular programs. Students can be excluded on the basis of not holding membership in the applicable organization or being an active participant in the sponsoring organization. (See policies pertaining to Employment regarding student employees in food services).
  8. Harassment/nondiscrimination: Discrimination based on the actual or assumed disabling effects of HIV infection is prohibited by law. The University condemns all occurrences of emotional and/or physical abuse as intolerable and will respond to them quickly and effectively.
  9. Disabling Condition: Persons with AIDS or HIV infection may be considered as having disabling conditions. Students with HIV infection seeking assistance shall receive appropriate accommodations.
  10. Medical Care: This is covered in detail under "Policies Pertaining to Student Health Services."
  11. University Approved/Regulated Housing: In an effort to serve the needs of HIV-infected students, decisions about housing for students with HIV infection will be made on a case-by-case basis. Housing is defined as residence halls, housing cooperatives, private contracted apartments (College Inn), fraternities and sororities. The best currently available medical information does not indicate any risk to those sharing a residence with infected individuals. There may be, in some circumstances, reasonable concern for the health of students with immune deficiencies when those students might be exposed to certain contagious diseases (e.g., measles or chicken pox) in a close living situation. University administrators and health officers may recommend/require that a student with HIV infection seek special housing arrangements for his/her own protection.
  12. Safety Precautions: Departments at Oregon State University will take the necessary steps to insure the safety of individuals who may be exposed to blood or blood products through implementation of Oregon State University's "Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan" (see OSU Safety Procedures Handbook).
  13. Student Health Services: This is covered in "Policies Pertaining to Student Health Services."
  14. Study Abroad Programs: Students participating in Study Abroad programs shall be informed of health risks particularly in regard to the blood supply and medical practice in countries with health standards that are different from those in the United States. They shall also be informed of HIV test requirements to obtain visas to visit certain countries. This shall be the responsibility of the Office of International Education.
  15. Testing: There is no current justification for mandatory HIV diagnostic testing, and the University will not require it for participation in any activity. However, when other institutions, agencies, or governments require testing for participation, enrollment, or travel, diagnostic testing will be made available by Student Health Services. This policy applies only to students. Faculty and staff normally will have to make arrangements for testing through their physicians or an outside health agency.

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Policies Pertaining to Student Health Services

Medical information and public health policy regarding AIDS are rapidly evolving. The policies of Oregon State University Student Health Services are to keep abreast of all relevant information about the epidemic and put it to maximum use for the benefit of students and staff, within the limits that resources allow. This will be accomplished by:

  1. Safe Medical Practices: Stringent universal precautions for the prevention of disease through infected body fluid or instruments contaminated by such fluid shall be maintained. These procedures will be under continuous review by the medical staff, as well as the licensing and accrediting agencies. The policy of Student Health Services is first and foremost to be certain that no one need fear contracting infectious disease during medical procedures. Given these precautions, Student Health Services is prepared to treat students infected with HIV or with other infectious diseases with confidence in the safety of the staff and other patients.
  2. Education and Outreach: Student Health Services is committed to education as the primary means to prevent transmission of HIV. Counseling about safe sex practices, needle precautions, and prenatal transmission is provided at Student Health Services by the general medical clinic, the Sexual Health Clinic, and the Health Educator. The staff makes itself available, as much as possible, for campus outreach programs such as AIDS prevention programs, classroom lectures, talks at living or other campus groups, and through the campus media.
  3. Testing: Confidential, inexpensive diagnostic testing for HIV will be offered to students by Student Health Services. Priority is given to persons with a significant risk, by history, of having contacted HIV. At this time, the tests are not sufficiently accurate to encourage testing of low risk groups. No tests will be given without informed consent, and results cannot be released to third parties without the specific and express prior authorization of the patient unless otherwise required by law. Consistent with current information, performance of a positive diagnostic test, at the very least, cannot increase the chance that an infected person will transmit the disease. In other words, persons who know they are infected are far more likely to do something to protect others than those who do not.
  4. Treatment and Counseling of Patients: Continuing education, treatment, and emotional support to students found to be infected with HIV will be provided. Information that may preserve the health of the patient and prevent transmission of the disease will be provided to the patient. Follow up will be encouraged. Student Health Services staff will participate, up to its capacity, (with appropriate referrals to specialists or other centers) in the treatment of those students who become ill with AIDS or AIDS-related complex. As with all other illnesses, the goal of Student Health Services will be to assist the student to remain in school and other activities despite any disease or limiting condition.

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Policies Pertaining to Employees

Oregon State University is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe work environment for all employees, as well as providing support for individual employees who may face life-threatening or catastrophic illnesses. The University is further committed to the concepts of affirmative action in the employment and retention of physically disabled employees. Unless stated otherwise, the following policies apply to faculty, staff, and student employees.

  1. Work Place Safety: With regard to potential exposure to infectious disease, including HIV infection, the University desires to provide a safe work environment for all employees based on standards set by the:
    • Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
    • Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Division
    • Federal Centers for Disease Control
    • State Health Division
    • Environmental Health and Safety will provide departments with guidelines covering required infection control items to be included in first aid kits and will assure that all required items are available for purchase through the Facilities Services storeroom.
  2. Employment of Affected Persons: It is the policy of the State of Oregon and the University as an agency of the state to protect the right of individuals to employment free from unlawful discrimination based on disability. HIV infection may be a disability under Federal and State law.

    The University will not refuse to hire or promote, and will not bar or discharge from employment or otherwise discriminate against, any individual because that person is HIV-infected, or perceived to be infected, so long as the individual can, with reasonable accommodation, perform the duties of the position or unless the individual poses a significant risk of substantial harm to the individual or employees or the public, that can not be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation, as determined by the office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity.

    Further, the University will not subject an employee so infected or believed to be infected to job conditions, discipline, standards of performance, or other requirements which differ from those applied to applicants or employees not so infected, except as a means of accommodation for any disability which may exist.

  3. Employee Refusal to Work: Employees who experience anxiety about the risk of infection and who refuse to work with a co-worker, student, or member of the public who is HIV-infected, or perceived to be infected, shall receive counseling as to current medical information related to the risk of exposure to HIV infection through routine contact in the work place. Continued unreasonable refusal to work with an HIV-infected co-worker, student, or member of the public could make an employee subject to disciplinary sanctions consistent with applicable provisions of state laws and regulations, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and applicable university and OUS administrative rules.
  4. Confidentiality: Medical records of employees are protected by law from public disclosure. Medical information related to University employees will not be released without specific written authorization by the affected employees unless otherwise required by law.

    The University encourages employees with serious infectious illnesses such as HIV infection to inform their department administrators so that reasonable accommodation to their conditions can be planned and implemented. Such self-disclosure is entirely voluntary, and the information disclosed may not be released without written authorization unless otherwise required by law.

  5. Diagnostic Testing: There is no current medical justification for mandatory HIV diagnostic testing for employment at the University. Under Oregon law, no individual may be tested for presence of HIV without the informed written consent of the individual.
  6. Employee Benefits: With regard to employee benefits programs, the State of Oregon and the University will treat HIV-related illnesses the same as other life-threatening illnesses. Further information and specific health insurance plan information may be obtained from the University's Department of Human Resources, 7-3103.
  7. Management of Employee's Exposure to HIV Infection: If there is a possibility that an employee has been exposed to HIV infection at work the employee should immediately notify her/his supervisor. The supervisor should contact the EH&S Biosafety Officer at 7-2505 who will initiate the post-exposure follow-up procedure.

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Policies for Delivering Current Information to the Campus Community

Because new knowledge about Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease (AIDS) is being reported almost weekly, it is imperative that the University provide the means to educate or update the campus community on a regular basis. It appears that AIDS is no longer considered "good press" with the result that fewer stories about the disease are appearing in the news media. The public, including the campus community, can be lulled into a sense of false security due to the lack of available information. Using the word "knowledge" in the broadest way, an ongoing educational campaign would include current information about the disease, recommendations concerning coming in contact with infectious material, the current treatments, conduct in the classroom and living/social arrangements, and changes in regulations concerning the legal status of AIDS patients, confidentiality, informing sexual contacts, and safety in the workplace. There are a variety of ways to do this. These include:

  1. Securing and Distributing Current Material: The University shall actively seek out the latest material on AIDS and distribute it to the campus community. Sources can include state agencies such as the State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF), Department of Human Resources, and Department of Insurance and Finance. Nationally, there are the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and its parent agency, the Public Health Service (PHS), and medical associations.

    The Provost shall designate the office that will coordinate the gathering of the most current information from the appropriate agencies and other sources, the revising of University documents pertaining to HIV infection, and the periodic distribution of updated material to University employees and students. This shall include mailings of informational material to employees, distributions to students at registration, and presentations in organized living groups, the work place, and campus clubs and organizations whose membership includes students and/or employees.

  2. Providing Formal Instruction: The University shall actively support instruction, including the use of current audiovisual material, and provide release time for its employees to attend these sessions. While the focus is on AIDS, there needs to be an increased emphasis on such areas as first aid certification including CPR. The University needs to become more safety conscious. The distribution of material and the making available of training sessions and knowledgeable speakers shall recognize the regular turnover of students and employees by offering programs and conducting mailings at regular intervals.

Copies of the Oregon State University AIDS Policy are available from the Department of Human Resources, (541) 737-3103.