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Overview of AIDS Policy
In February of 1991, the Board of Trustees of St. Bonaventure University approved a comprehensive AIDS policy. This policy affects every member of our community in an effort to respond to this disease. It commits the University to an extensive, annual, proactive education program designed to meet not only its legal responsibilities, but also its moral responsibilities to each member of the University family. What follows is a synopsis of this policy.
According to the federal Rehabilitation Act and the New York State Anti-Discrimination Laws, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex (ARC) and positive HIV status are considered handicaps. Because of this, the information that a person has a positive HIV status is protected under the New York State Public Health Law. Hence, no one has a right to know the HIV status of another individual. Because the HIV virus cannot be transmitted by casual contact, the general public is not in danger of contracting the virus through normal
daily contact with an infected person. No one, therefore, has any right to know the HIV status of any member of the Bonaventure community.
The primary focus of the University's AIDS policy is on education. It is only through education that the spread of this disease can be prevented. Every student, staff worker, faculty member, and administrator must know the kinds of behaviors and what kinds of situations can put them at risk of contracting HIV. For example, students put themselves at risk by sharing a razor blade or ear piercing needle. Security Services and Health Services staff should routinely use protective gloves and bleach solution to deal with spit, blood or other bodily fluids. Everyone must know when they are at risk, assume that others may be infected, and observe "Universal Precautions" in such situations. "Universal Precautions" are a set of safety procedures observed by all health care professionals.
With it focus on education, the University has instituted an AIDS Peer Education Program for all students. This program involves volunteer students, who complete an 18 hour AIDS Education Program with the American Red Cross. Thereupon, they are certified by the Red Cross as AIDS Peer Educators. Members of this team then travel from floor to floor in residence halls presenting an AIDS Education Program for peers. Peer education is considered to be a very effective way to reach students with information about AIDS.
Peer Educators, together with a trained nurse from the University Health Services staff, also run programs for housekeeping staff, food workers, campus security, athletic coaches, fitness center staff and other Bonaventure personnel. This education program is designed to reach every member of the
University community. The faculty are encouraged, where appropriate, to incorporate AIDS education related material into curricula. The University also has a Director of AIDS Education who oversees all aspects of the education program.
AIDS epidemiology, transmission, prevention, individual risk assessment, blood testing and post-test counseling and partner notification will be the primary focus of AIDS health service at the University. The University Student Health Service staff is prepared to provide emergency medical care, referral, and education to students, faculty, administrators, and staff with AIDS or with concerns about AIDS. All medical information will be handled in a strictly confidential manner in accordance with the law. The Student Health Services staff will also update and advise the University on the latest data related to the prevention of HIV transmission.
No one will be discriminated against with regard to admission or employment on the basis of his or her HIV status. As an employer, the University has a legal obligation under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to provide a safe working environment for its employees. Appropriate measures are taken to provide employees with information about "Universal Precautions" and equipment necessary for observing the precautions.