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ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS)

The purpose of the AIDS policy is to reassure the University community that AIDS is not spread through casual contact during normal work practices and to reduce unrealistic fears about contracting an AIDS virus-related condition.

The term "AIDS virus-related conditions" refers to the following four medically diagnosed conditions:

  • Presence of the AIDS antibody without symptoms of AIDS (HIV)
  • Presence of an AIDS-Related Complex (ARC)
  • AIDS
  • Central nervous system infection

This policy also protects the legal rights of all University employees to work who are diagnosed with an AIDS virus-related condition and provides guidelines to supervisors. The University expects supervisors to convey sensitivity and understanding to employees affected with the AIDS virus.

The University is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe work environment by protecting the physical and emotional health and well-being of all employees in the workplace. This policy provides guidelines for handling issues that arise when an employee is affected by this catastrophic disease.

  • The University will treat all medical information obtained from employees with AIDS or any of its related conditions with utmost confidentiality, and in compliance with the law.
  • The University will treat AIDS and AIDS virus-related conditions the same as other life threatening illnesses, such as cancer and advanced heart disease. Employees affected by AIDS will be treated with sensitivity and understanding and will be given support to the full extent.
  • The University believes that employees who suffer from AIDS, AIDS virus-related conditions, and persons with seropositive test results continue to be valued employees.

This policy is based on respect for the individual employee and recognizes that any employee suffering from such an illness may want to continue working for as long as the condition allows. University employees who are diagnosed with an AIDS virus-related condition may continue to work if they are deemed medically able to work, can meet acceptable performance standards, and the medical evidence indicates that there is no health or safety threat to the employee or to others. The University will provide reasonable accommodation if necessary to enable these employees to continue working.

Based on overwhelming preponderance of available medical and scientific opinion, there is no known risk of AIDS transmission between an affected employee and other employees through either casual or close contact that occurs during normal work activities. An AIDS virus-related condition is not transmitted by breathing the same air, using the same lavatories, touching a common piece of paper or using the same telephone. Therefore, employees have no basis upon which to refuse to work or withhold their services for fear of contracting the disease by working with an AIDS-infected person in an office or classroom setting. Employees who harass or otherwise discriminate against an AIDS-infected member of the University community will be subject disciplinary action as set forth in the Disciplinary Action policy.

Recognizing the need for employees to be accurately informed about AIDS and AIDS virus-related condition, the Health Center will provide, on an individual or group basis, AIDS education to those who seek assistance. Outside referral to an agency providing counseling services is also available through the Counseling Center.

Revised 10-11-02
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