Policy Statement on AIDs
The University will respond to the presence
of AIDS in the University community with education, awareness,
and compassion. Since there is not a cure for AIDS, the
University will address its resources and efforts to tasks that
Educating the University community about AIDS and related issues;
Providing information on transmission and risk reduction to prevent further spread of the disease;
Insuring and facilitating access to proper medical, administrative, counseling and other assistance;
Lessening the concerns and undeserved reactions associated with the disease, those who have it, and those who may be at risk;
Offering counseling and testing and HIV antibody testing to students.
Consistent with University policy regarding student and staff who are disabled, the University will not discriminate against a student or staff member who has AIDS. The University will seek to make accommodations for such persons in a manner consistent with accommodations made for other medical conditions, illnesses and disabilities. Further, the University will not undertake a program of routine testing either students or staff for AIDS, nor will questions about the existence of AIDS be included in applications for either admission or employment.
The guidelines developed by the committee are part of the
efforts to provide the University community with information
about AIDS. The committee has utilized knowledgeable sources to
convey the necessary guidelines with questions and answers
regarding these policy issues. These responses are based on
recommendations issued by the United States Public Health
Service and the American College Health Association. The
principal philosophy in responding 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.
The answers do not provide detailed rules; rather, they present
a framework from which can be developed specific, well-reasoned
responses to individual cases. As those recommendations may be
modified or expanded, the University will review and
appropriately revise these guidelines. Within that context the
questions and answers that follow outline the University's
Question: Can AIDS be spread by ordinary interpersonal
Response: There is no evidence that AIDS is spread by
ordinary interpersonal contact. The causative virus is quite
fragile and will not survive on environmental surfaces, in the
atmosphere, on personal articles, or on eating utensils.
Question: How is AIDS transmitted?
Response: The transmission of AIDS from one person to
another is spread by sexual contact involving the exchange of
body fluids; the sharing of contaminated needles and syringes,
especially by users of intravenous drugs; and the transfusion of
blood or blood products contaminated by the virus; and through
pregnancy from mother to unborn child.
Question: How can we lessen the chances of getting
Response: To help prevent getting the AIDS virus: (1)
Avoid sexual intercourse and intimate sex; (2) practice sexual
fidelity in marriage or in a long-term relationship with an
uninfected partner; (3) use condoms during all sexual contact;
(4) avoid oral contact with a partner's semen, blood, vaginal
secretions, or body waste; (5) avoid anonymous, high risk, and
multiple sex partners; and (6) avoid sharing IV drug needles and
syringes, preferably by not using IV drugs except by a
physician's order. A condom should be used when having sex with
anyone other than a faithful and uninfected partner. Even then,
there is still some risk since the condom is not 100% effective.
A person should discuss personal health responsibilities with a
Question: What steps should be followed by students and
staff who may come in contact with blood, needles, and body
Response: The appropriate handling of human blood and
potentially infectious body fluids from any source must be a
concern to all personnel. In order to reduce the risk,
educational programming must be conducted and the safety
guidelines included in Attachment A must be followed.
Question: Should an individual who carries the AIDS
virus be removed from the mainstream of campus life?
Response: There is no current evidence that people who
are infected spread the infection by casual, ordinary contact.
Accordingly, there is no reason to exclude AIDS victims or
carriers from campus academic, social, or community activities.
Shared classrooms, work areas, study areas, libraries, theaters,
etc. do not present problems.
Question: If a
student suspects that he or she has AIDS, what will the
Response: The first response to an individual who has
AIDS must be compassion. If the student is uncertain of his or
her medical condition and seeks help, the University encourages
the student to get a detailed medical evaluation. The
University, through the Student Health Service, can refer the
student to a physician who is familiar with AIDS for a
confidential medical evaluation, including counseling before and
after diagnosis, and further medical follow-up if appropriate.
As with other medical conditions and disabilities, the
University will make accommodations in a manner consistent with
those made for other disabilities.
Question: How will accommodations for students be made?
Response: Accommodations will be made based on the
medical facts of each case in consultation with the Coordinator
of Students with Special Needs, the Director of the Student
Health Center, and the chair or director of department or unit
in which the accommodation is to occur. Since casual contact
does not result in AIDS, consultation will only occur with those
directly involved in making a medically necessary accommodation.
Question: How will the University respond to students
who wish to change class schedules because a person in their
class has AIDS?
Response: This concern is not supported by any medical
evidence. Casual contact does not result in AIDS. As long as
class attendance is permitted by the student's physician, he or
she can attend class, without any need or reason for the student
or classmates to make any changes in their schedules. The
University's first response to any concern of this nature will
be to provide counseling to those involved.
Question: What will be the University's response to a
student who has AIDS and as a consequence has difficulty
completing the work of a course?
Response: The University's existing policies regarding
students who suffer from a medical problem that prevents them
from completing their class work would apply to a student with
AIDS. In keeping with the general principles reiterated
throughout these guidelines, faculty members should act
compassionately in response to the request of a student to
postpone an examination or take an incomplete in a course.
Question: How will the University respond if a student
living in a residence hall is diagnosed as having AIDS?
Response: Decisions in all situations involving a
student who has a health problem are made on a case-by-case
determination, based on the medical facts of each case and with
concern for confidentiality and the best interests of all
parties involved. Similarly, there is no medical necessity to
advise others living in residence halls of the presence in the
hall of other students who have AIDS.
Question: What if a student in a residence hall
suspects that a roommate or other resident has AIDS?
Response: The University will respond with appropriate
counseling in the same manner as with other issues or concerns
that may arise among residence hall students. If, after
counseling, other conflicts still exist that cannot be resolved
constructively by the parties involved, the University will
consider a room reassignment in accordance with established
residence hall policies. Again, it should be stressed that
casual contact, such as normally occurs with a roommate, does
not transmit AIDS.
Question: What are the provisions of the University's
student health insurance program that relate to AIDS?
Response: There is no provision in the University's
student health insurance policy specifically regarding AIDS; it
is treated like any other sickness first diagnosed and
commencing after the effective date of the policy.
Question: How will the University respond to complaints
of discrimination or harassment against students with AIDS, or
who simply are perceived to be in high-risk groups?
Response: The University will respond to any conflict
or harassment first by using informal means to counsel and
educate the individuals involved. The Student Grievance
procedure (Appendix J of the Student Handbook) outlines the
procedure to be followed in student discrimination cases. The
initial process is an informal one. Any discrimination against
students because of their disability or affectional or
associational preferences is prohibited by University policy.
Question: Will a student employee who has AIDS be
permitted to continue working?
Response: The guidelines outlined below under
"Personnel Concerns" will also apply to student employees.
will the University respond if a faculty, academic staff,
classified or student employee has or is suspected of having
Response: The first response to an individual who has
AIDS must be compassion. The University will seek to accommodate
a staff member's medical condition to permit the individual to
remain actively at work as long as possible. If an employee is
unable to carry out assigned duties he or she can be placed on a
disability leave using sick leave and leave without pay as
applicable. Again, it must be stressed that casual contact, such
as occurs in an office or similar setting, does not cause AIDS.
Question: How will the University respond to concerns
by a faculty, academic staff, classified or student employee
that his or her co-worker or supervisor has AIDS?
Response: The University would hope that these concerns
would be resolved by counseling and greater education about
AIDS. Unless medically justified, the University will not
require transfers or changes in working conditions because an
employee has AIDS or because of concerns about a co-worker
Question: What will happen if an administrator or
supervisor knows or thinks a staff member has AIDS and needs
medical attention and/or counseling?
Response: The University will seek to accommodate the
employee's medical condition to permit the individual to remain
actively at work as long as possible. Decisions in all
situations will be made on a case-by-case determination, based
on the medical facts of each, and with concern for the best
interests of all involved. The University will offer counseling
and medical services or referrals to other counseling centers or
agencies. The University also can provide counseling to co-
workers to better understand AIDS.
Question: What are the provisions of employee health
and life insurance policies, including disability and
Response: There is no provision in any of the
University's current employee insurance policies specifically
regarding AIDS; it is treated as any other chronic illness.
Life insurance benefits would be paid to the named beneficiary and disability insurance would be paid if eligible. It should be noted that the life insurance program provides that an employee may name any individual as beneficiary.
Question: Are medical and employment records
Response: Medical records are confidential and may be
released only with the patient's consent. Medical information
provided by an employee may be placed in the employee's
personnel records, for example, for purposes of determining
disability benefits. Personnel who handle records are instructed
on the confidentiality issue. It is a violation of University
policy for employees to improperly release information from
personnel files. The University will not give out confidential
medical or other information about students or employees except
where required by law or when authorized to do so by a student
Question: How will the University handle complaints of
discrimination against staff members with AIDS?
Response: Informal grievance procedures listed in
Appendix C of the Affirmative Action Plan address the process to
be followed in the event of discrimination against faculty,
academic staff and classified staff.
General Principles Regarding Safe Handling of Blood and Body Fluids: Because many infected persons are unaware of this status, personnel should not rely on students or employees with AIDS to identify themselves. The following safety must be observed in all cases.
Personnel that are authorized and trained per the written Bloodborne Pathogens Program should be the only individuals who use, work with or perform other activities with human blood of other potentially infectious materials.
If persons have accidents involving bleeding, follow the procedures referenced in Appendix C of the Bloodborne Pathogens Program. Contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office for information related to the UW-L Bloodborne Pathogens Program.
Health Center personnel and those using needles in laboratories should use disposable, one-use needles whenever the skin or mucous membranes of patients will be punctured. Needles must be disposed per procedures in the written Bloodborne Pathogens Program.
Laboratory courses, that require the use of human blood, shall use disposable equipment. No lancets or other blood-letting devices should be reused or shared.
For additional information related to HIV/AIDS, contact the La Crosse County Health Department (785-9872), Wisconsin AidsLine (1-800-334-2437), the UW-L Health Center (785-8558), or the UW-L Environmental Health and Safety Office (785-6800).