Aids and Aids-Related Conditions

 
Delta State University recognizes that employees who are HIV infected or who have contracted AIDS or other potentially disabling conditions may wish to continue their employment as long as their conditions allow. It is the policy of the University to accommodate the affected employees if they are able to meet minimum performance standards of their job and their conditions are not a threat to themselves or others within the work environment. Because of the seriousness of the AIDS issue, Delta State University established this policy that focuses on prevention (through detailed education of students, faculty, and staff) and on the compassionate care of those afflicted.
 
 
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); A condition that destroys the human body’s immune (defense) system and allows life-threatening infection to develop. It has no known cure or vaccine for prevention, and an individual can transmit the virus even in the absence of symptoms. Available medical knowledge indicates that transmission is primarily through sexual contact or through the sharing of intravenous drug paraphernalia. According to the Centers for Disease Control, contracting the disease in most situations encountered in an individual’s daily activities is not known to occur. 
 
AIDS-related complex (ARC): A variety of chronic symptoms and physical findings that occur in some persons who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus but that do not meet the Center for Disease Control definition of AIDS
 
HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus (the causative agent of AIDS)
 
HIV Antibody: A protein in the body produced in response to exposure to the human immunodeficiency virus. (The "HIV antibody test" is a test for the presence of these proteins in the body.)
 
Employee: This generally includes faculty and staff employees who are working on paid appointments by the University. It generally excludes students or temporary employees. For specific information on who is considered an employee, contact the Human Resources Department. 
 
Supervisor: An employee designated by management who exercises major supervisory functions over another employee or employees. These functions include hiring, evaluating, assigning work, and disciplining employees.

 
A supervisor or anyone in the University community who becomes aware of an AIDS-related situation involving an employee, student, or visitor shall follow the guidelines stated in this policy.
 
Delta State University accepts otherwise-qualified individuals presenting themselves for admission or employment, irrespective of their HIV status.
 
Persons with AIDS itself (and, possibly, those with other manifestations of HIV infection) will be considered as having handicapping conditions as defined in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilities Act. In determining policy and in making related decisions, DSU officials shall properly attend to the legal rights of these individuals and shall make reasonable accommodations as are appropriate for people with handicapping conditions. A student or employee handicapped by HIV infection (as determined by the individual’s personal physician) has the option of accepting accommodations or refusing assistance based on the individual’s preference.
 
Decision regarding the continuation of employment of faculty and staff with AIDS or AIDS-related conditions will be made on the basis of job-related criteria. Within current DSU policies and procedures, individuals may be reassigned to accommodate a handicapping condition. Termination will be pursued only when the employee, even with reasonable reassignment of responsibilities, can no longer perform the duties and responsibilities of his or her position. Any such termination action will be taken in accordance with established University procedures.
 
DSU students who have HIV infections, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic, will be allowed regular classroom attendance as long as they are physically and mentally able to attend classes as determined by current DSU academic standards.
 
There will be no unreasonable restriction of access on the basis of HIV infection to student or employee facilities, cafeteria, grill, gymnasium, swimming pools, saunas, recreational facilities, or other common areas.
 
Currently available medical information does not indicate any risk to those sharing residence with infected individuals. However, there may be reasonable concern for the health of students with immune deficiencies (of any origin) when those students might be exposed to certain contagious diseases (for example, measles or chicken pox) in a close living situation. For these reasons, decisions regarding housing for students with HIV infections will be made on a case-by-case basis.
 
Any recommendations by DSU Housing officials for students with immune deficiencies to be assigned to private rooms will be done in order to protect the health of the immunodeficient student. It will be the responsibility of the student to make his/her HIV status known to DSU Housing officials for any special consideration to be given.
 
Neither students, student applicants, employees, nor applicants for employment at DSU will be routinely asked to respond to questions concerning the existence of HIV infection. However, both students and employees with HIV infection are encouraged to inform the campus Director of Student Health Services so that DSU may provide access to proper medical care, support, counsel, and education. This, like any other medical information will be handled in a strictly confidential manner.
 
Incoming students known to have HIV or immune deficiencies will be exempted from DSU requirement for MMR, a live virus vaccination.
 
A. Testing. Students or employees requesting HIV antibody testing will be referred to the Bolivar County Health Department or their own private physician.
 
B.   Services. Counseling, information, and education are available through the Health Center and the University Counseling Center.
 
  1. Standards: No information concerning AIDS-related conditions or diagnosis will be provided to faculty, administrators, or parents without the expressed written consent of the student or employee. Medical information cannot be released to any person, group, agency, insurer, employer, or institution without specific written consent of the student or employee, except as required by law.   Any disclosure of diagnoses of AIDS or AIDS-related conditions to individuals functioning in supervisory roles shall be treated as confidential information.
  2. Legal Liability: According to present law, DSU physicians are mandated to protect the confidentiality of medical information with exceptions being made only if the need arises to protect others in very specific, life threatening circumstances. Also, disclosure by persons other than physicians that an individual has AIDS or an AIDS-related condition may be considered an invasion of that individual’s privacy. Situations in which disclosure will be made will be determined on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the University Physicians, the Director of Student Health Services and appropriate University Counsel, if needed.
  3. Public Health Reporting Requirements: DSU physicians will observe the public health reporting requirements of the Mississippi State Department of Health. Individuals diagnosed by DSU physicians will be reported to the State Department of Health.
  4. "Need to Know":   According to the American College Health Association, current medical information concerning AIDS neither justifies nor requires warning others of the presence of someone with AIDS, an AIDS-related complex (ARC) or a positive HIV antibody test. Given the absence of any evidence of transmission of HIV by casual interpersonal contact, there is no need or justification for warning roommates or others in a residence hall, individuals in the academic workplace, administrative officers, or instructors of the presence of such an individual. Therefore, the number of people at DSU who will be aware of the existence and/or the identity of students or employees who have HIV infections will be kept to an absolute minimum, both to protect the confidentiality and the privacy of the infected persons and to avoid the generation of unnecessary fear and anxiety among faculty, students, and staff.
Training requirements for employees deemed at-risk by the University physicians shall consist of sessions by the Health Center sufficient in number and depth to comply with prevailing OSHA guidelines. Records of AIDS education training for at-risk employees shall be maintained by the Director of Human Resources and Director of Student Health Services.
 
1.      Personnel: Since many people with HIV infections are not identified in advance, universal precautions as defined by OSHA will guide the procedures for handling of blood and body fluids of any student or employee. Questions regarding these safety guidelines should be directed to the Director of Student Health Services. Departments handling blood or body fluids have the responsibility of developing department specific directives, and procedures for compliance monitoring and staff education to prevent the transmission of HIV infection.
2.      Equipment: OSHA guidelines should be followed when disposing and handling infectious materials. Contact the Director of Student Health Services for specific guidelines. 
3.      Teaching Laboratories: Laboratory courses requiring exposure to blood such as biology courses in which blood is obtained by finger prick for typing must comply with OSHA guidelines on equipment and disposal. No student should be required to obtain or process the blood of others.
 
Faculty, staff, students, and all other persons affiliated with DSU shall perform the responsibilities of their positions irrespective of the HIV status of students or co-workers. Failure to comply with this standard will be considered as failure to adequately perform the responsibilities of one’s position and may result in disciplinary action up to, and possibly including, termination in accordance with current DSU policy. 
 
University students, faculty, and staff with AIDS or AIDS-related conditions who are aware of the potential danger of their condition to others and who engage in behavior (while performing their employee-or student-related activities) which threatens the safety and welfare of others may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with DSU disciplinary procedures.
 
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