Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection and the resultant Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) have had a profound effect upon our entire society. In response to the epidemic of HIV infection, West Chester University establishes this policy to outline the method by which the University addresses students and employees who are exposed to HIV, and to provide a safe working and living environment for all members of the University community.
West Chester University is committed to providing educational awareness about HIV infection and AIDS for the campus community and promoting appropriate prevention and control programs. Such programs shall be consistent with applicable laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and Pennsylvania Act 148 of 1990 (Confidentiality of HIV-Related Information Act), and shall be guided by the recommendations of the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American College Health Association.
Current medical evidence indicates that students or employees with AIDS or HIV infection do not pose a health risk to other students or employees in an academic setting. There has been no confirmed case of HIV transmission as a result of casual contact. There is no reason to routinely exclude or limit participation of students or employees because they have asymptomatic or symptomatic HIV infection.
West Chester University has adopted the following procedures with respect to HIV infection:
- The University will take the necessary steps to safeguard the personal rights of persons infected with HIV. Discrimination on the basis of HIV infection, including emotional, verbal, or physical harassment, is expressly prohibited. Individuals who believe themselves to be the victims of discrimination on the basis of HIV infection should contact the director of social equity, 13/15 University Avenue, 610-436-2433.
- Knowledge of an individual's HIV status shall not be a part of the employment requirement at the University or a condition for admission to University programs. No employee, student, or applicant will be required to undergo HIV testing as a requirement for employment or admission to West Chester University.
- No otherwise qualified individual shall be prohibited from being employed, promoted, or participating in any University program or activity, with or without appropriate accommodation, as a result of HIV/AIDS status unless there is a known risk posed to the health or safety of others.
- HIV status shall not be cause for a restriction to access any University facility. There is no justification, medical or otherwise, for restricting the access of students or employees with HIV infection to the student union, theater, cafeteria, snack bars, gymnasiums, swimming pools, saunas, recreational facilities, or other public areas.
- An employee who has a concern that he or she is at risk because of exposure to someone with HIV infection is encouraged to discuss the matter with his or her supervisor or with the Human Resource Services Department. A student who has a concern that he or she is at risk because of exposure to someone with HIV infection is encouraged to discuss the matter with the director of the student Health Center.
- The best currently available medical information does not indicate any risk to those sharing a residence with infected individuals. However, decisions about housing for students infected with HIV will be made on a case-by-case basis. Because of immune deficiencies caused by HIV infection, accommodations will be made for HIV-infected students.
- All University records which refer to HIV infection or AIDS in a student or employee shall remain strictly confidential in accordance with University and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania policies. Unless otherwise required by law, no information will be shared with faculty, administration, student, family members, or outside insurance carriers without the written consent of the student or employee for each instance of disclosure.
- The primary responsibility of the University with regards to HIV/AIDS is to promote a safe environment which can best be accomplished through education. Effective educational programs about AIDS and HIV are an activity of the highest priority for all areas of the University community. These shall include the development and dissemination of accurate, up-to-date information on the transmission, prevention, and control of HIV to all employees and students. Specialized training shall be provided for employees with occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens.
- Individuals who are infected with HIV or who have a reasonable basis for believing they are infected with HIV are encouraged to seek medical advice and are expected to conduct themselves responsibly for the protection of other members of the University community. The student Health Center is equipped to provide HIV testing and information about HIV infection and AIDS to students. The Counseling and Psychological Services Department is able to provide personal counseling for students. The Wellness Center has information about HIV and AIDS, including books, articles, pamphlets, videos, lists of Internet sites, testing facilities, and counseling referrals available for the entire campus community.