Health Risks

AIDS Policy Statement

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency), ARC (AIDS Related Complex), or HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) hereafter referred to as AIDS, is a growing concern on college campuses today.  Although the exact number of AIDS cases at UW-L is not know, our campus is taking steps to prepare itself to cope with the problem.  The American College Health Association has recommended that institutions not adopt blanket policies concerning students and staff with AIDS.  A general policy statement and guidelines for response has been formulated and is on record at the Student Life office.  The university will respond to the presence of AIDS in the university community with education, awareness, testing, counseling and referral services, and compassion.  Our University provides:

  • Education and Awareness:  accurate information about the disease and its impact on our campus and community
  • Prevention:  information on transmission and risk reduction
  • Intervention:  anonymous testing, confidential counseling, and referral services consistent with the university policy regarding students and staff who are disabled. The University will not discriminate against a student or staff member who has AIDS.  Our principal philosophy in responding to concerns involving AIDS is that each situation must be dealt with on an individual basis and will be determined by the medical facts involved, and the counseling and support needs of the person.

HIV Antibody Testing

If you are considering being tested for exposure to the AIDS virus, consider the testing program at the Student Health Center.

Free Testing Program Offers:

Anonymity:  You are never asked your name, address or social security number, only your age and sex.  You will be assigned a 12-digit code number which only you will know.  
Confidentiality:  Only your counselor will know the results.

Counseling:  A certified and trained HIV Antibody Test counselor/nurse will discuss with you your personal concerns.  You make the final decision about whether or not to be tested.  A post-test session will cover the implications of your results.

Follow-up and Referral Services: Counseling, support and medical evaluation as needed.

Contact the Student Health Center:  785-8558

Transmission of HIV

HIV is passed from person to person through direct contact with the following body fluids which may contain large numbers of HIV:

  •     blood
  •     semen
  •     vaginal secretions
  •     by some reports, breast milk

How can a person get HIV?

HIV is usually transmitted:

  • by having sex with an infected person.
  • by sharing needles and syringes with an infected person.
  • during pregnancy, birth, or breast feeding (few cases reported), from infected mother to child.

HIV is NOT transmitted by:

  • casual contact (hugging, kissing, shaking hands)
  • insects
  • contact with body fluids such as saliva, tears, urine, etc.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs):

STDs are also a common problem on college campuses.  They are infections a person catches through sexual contact.  The most common STDs on campuses include chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, and syphilis.  No one is immune from STDs.  Most college students are sexually active and therefore can get or transmit an STD.  The most important fact is that you can receive treatment for them -- and you can reduce your risk by protecting yourself.

Reduce your risk for AIDS and STDs by:

  • Form healthy, monogamous relationships and discuss your sexual behavior
  • Use condoms
  • Learn all you can about AIDS and STDs
  • Have regular medical check-ups and seek treatment if needed
  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs as they may impair your judgment
  • Consider abstinence from sex

Health Risks

The use of alcohol and other drugs is detrimental to the health of the user.  Furthermore, the use of drugs and alcohol is not conducive to an academic atmosphere.  Drugs impede the learning process, cause disruption for other students and disturb their academic interests.  The use of drugs in the workplace may also impede the employee's ability to perform in a safe and effective manner and may result in injuries to others.  Early diagnosis and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse is in the best interests of the student, employee, and the university.

Marijuana and Hashish

Marijuana and hashish are deleterious to the health and impair the short-term memory and comprehension of the user.  When used, they alter the sense of time and reduce the ability of the user to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination.  They increase the heart rate and appetite.  Motivation and thinking can be altered, making learning and retaining new information difficult.  Long-term users may develop psychological dependence as well as paranoia and psychosis.  Because these drugs are inhaled as unfiltered smoke, they damage the lungs and pulmonary system and contain more cancer-causing agents than tobacco.

Cocaine and Crack

Cocaine and crack stimulate the central nervous system and are extremely addictive.  They can cause psychological and physical dependency which can lead to dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, paranoia, and seizures.  They can also cause death by disrupting the brain's control of the heart and respiration.

Stimulants and Amphetamines

Other stimulant and amphetamine use have the same effect as cocaine and cause increased heart rates and blood pressure that can result in a stroke or heart failure.  Symptoms include dizziness, sleeplessness, and anxiety.  Use can also lead to psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, and even a physical collapse.

Depressants and Barbiturates

Depressants and barbiturates can cause physical and psychological dependence that can lead to respiratory depression, coma  and death, especially when used in concert with alcohol.  Withdrawal can lead to restlessness, insomnia, convulsions, and possibly death.


LSD, PCP, mescaline, and peyote are classified as hallucinogens.  Hallucinogens interrupt the brain messages that control the intellect and keep instincts in check.  Large doses can produce convulsions and coma or heart and lung failure.  Chronic users complain of persistent memory problems and speech difficulties for up to a year after their use.  Because the drug stops the brain's pain sensors, drug experiences may result in severe self-inflicted injuries.  Persistent memory problems and speech difficulties may linger.


Users of narcotics, such as heroin, codeine, morphine, and opium, develop dependence and increase the likelihood of an overdose that can lead to convulsions, coma, and death.


Alcohol is chemically classified as a mind-altering drug because it contains ethanol and has the chemical power to depress the action of the nervous control system.  This depression affects motor coordination, speech, and vision.  In great amounts, it can affect respiration and heart rate control.  Death can result when the level of blood alcohol exceeds 0.40%.  Prolonged abuse of alcohol can lead to alcoholism, malnutrition and cirrhosis.