130.1 Policy Statement on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
The rising number of persons in our society who are infected with the AIDS virus and the lethal character of the disease, make AIDS one of the most serious epidemics of modern times. Because the majority of the victims are in the younger age groups, these has been much pressure for educational institutions to adopt specific policies in response to the fear generated by the AIDS epidemic.
Although we at Goshen College are unaware of any AIDS victims in the campus community, we realize that persons harboring the HIV virus may be (or at some time will be) among us. We therefore believe it appropriate to indicate what our general response should be.
The call for colleges and universities to develop policies with regards to AIDS gives Goshen College the occasion to express its philosophy and policy with regard to all communicable diseases, particularly those that are sexually transmitted. This expression is broadly stated in general terms, and should be viewed in the context of our overall health services policy at Goshen College.
AIDS — Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is a condition caused by a virus (called the human immunodeficiency virus) which reduces the body’s avility to defend itself against a variety of diseases. There is no vaccine to prevent AIDS and no known cure, so that the disease is now considered uniformly fatal. Death has usually been caused by cancer (Kaposi’s sarcoma), pneumonia (pneumocystis pneumonia), neurologic disorders (encephalitis), or other “opportunistic” diseases.
ARC — AIDS Related Complex. Persons infected with the HIV virus may show signs and symptoms common to many less serious ailments. When they do, they are said to be suffering from the AIDS related complex.
HIV Antibody Positive — Persons who have become infected with the AIDS [HIV] virus rather quickly produce an element in their blood ( in response to the presence of the virus) called the HIV antibody. These antibodies can be detected by a laboratory test to determine which persons have been infected with the virus, and whether blood (donated for transfusion) contains the virus.
The virus is not highly contagious and is not spread by casual contact. It is spread via the sharing of body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal secretion).
PRINCIPLES UNDERGIRDING OUR POLICY:
- We regard our primary task to be preventative in general and educational in particular. Prevention is the only effective weapon against AIDS.
- We will respond to a case of AIDS as we would any other serious, contagious, lethal disease. We will address the issue of high-risk behaviors rather that high-risk groups. We will not discriminate against those at high-risk, those carrying the virus but without symptoms, or those with the disease in either its early or full-blown stages. Persons with AIDS, ARC, or an HIV antibody positive test will be encouraged to report their condition to the Health Center.
- The person with AIDS on this campus will receive from us all the care, compassion, love and support which we would accord any victim of accident or disease. A person’s lifestyle does not and will not condition our compassionate response. Human need is our only criterion for care.
- We will work actively on this campus to combat fear, prejudice, discrimination, irrationality, paranoia, and hysteria about AIDS.
- The prevention of the spread of AIDS is best assured by adherence to the personal lifestyle which Goshen College has always promoted and affirmed. Therefore, we will continue to affirm and promote a Christian lifestyle free from the use of drugs, and a sexual lifestyle that places genital interaction exclusively within the context of a committed, mutually monogamous, permanent relationship. So called “safe sex” practices are only relatively “safer” at best; they may be ineffective in preventing the transmission of all sexually transmitted diseases. This failure is of deep concern when one is dealing with a uniformly fatal illness such as AIDS.
- We will strive to build at Goshen College a community of compassion and justice, where the sick are cared for and not cast out. Those of us who are caregivers will be willing to take personal risks to help others and will not abandon our responsibilities even when our own health may be threatened.
- We will utilize all available and appropriate community resources, including the Public Health Department, Oaklawn, etc., whenever indicated.
- We assign jointly to the Campus Health and Wholeness Committee and to the Student Health Service the responsibility for ongoing educational programming on AIDS, in the context of overall health and wholeness/wellness promotion. The educational effort will be directed toward all faculty, staff, and students (on campus and on SST).
- The Student Health Service will continuously update administrative officials, residence life personnel, international education leaders, and health service personnel regarding new information on AIDS as it is received, including all possible preventive and control strategies.
- Our specific actions and policies will comply with all Public Health guidelines and will also take into account the recommendations of the American College Health Association. Our specific practices will be determined not by public furor but by the best available medical information at the time. Specifically, we will follow Public Health guidelines regarding class attendance, lab participation, access to dining and toilet facilities, gyms, and dormitory housing. Involved persons will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
- The AIDS virus carrier or AIDS disease victim may generally remain on campus provided he/she cooperates fully with all testing, monitoring, and counseling requirements, provided he/she does not engage in lifestyle practices which would pose a threat of transmission of the virus to others, and provided his/her exposure to the general student population would not pose an unacceptable hazard to his/her own immunocompromised system.
- Treatment for persons with AIDS, while appropriately individualized, will be given as it would for any other communicable disease of similar severity.
- We will not routinely screen all members of the campus community for the AIDS virus unless and until required to do so by law, or until such screening is recommended by the U. S. Public Health Service. Thus, at this time, one’s AIDS antibody status will not be a condition qualifying admission to the college or beginning employment. Confidentiality will be strictly maintained (and a “no discrimination” policy enforced) in order to encourage voluntary reporting.
- The Health Center will continue its present strict policy regarding the disposal of hypodermic needles, blood, and other body fluid specimens. These same practices will be followed in laboratory courses where blood or body fluids are collected or examined.
- The Health Center’s current high standards regarding confidentiality of patient records will apply equally to the AIDS virus carrier and the AIDS victim. This standard of confidentiality is protected by the doctor – patient relationship (covered by law) and by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.
- The business manager will not regard a student’s health insurance plan as acceptable if it excludes coverage of AIDS related disorders.
- If the college physician becomes aware of a person within the campus community who is HIV antibody positive, has manifestations of the AIDS related complex of disorders, or has full blown AIDS, he will notify the County Health Office as required by law, and will notify the Dean of Students. (The identity of the person will no be revealed unless the person gives that permission). The next steps, regarding identification, room assignment, work assignment, roommate awareness, Administrative Council awareness, etc., will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on (a) the status of the individual’s health and vulnerablity to others, (b) the status of the viral presence or disease (i.e., HIV antibody positive, ARC, or AIDS), (c) the individual’s cooperativeness with medical surveillance, and (d) the individual’s adherence to the necessary lifestyle strictures and demonstrated concern for others.
- We will balance the concern for individual rights with the concern for community protection, and we will expect the involved individual to do the same.
The Wellness and Health Center staff will counsel extensively with the individual regarding the possible desirability or necessity of sacrificing absolute anonymity.
Legal counsel will be consulted whenever advisable.
DISSEMINATION OF THIS POLICY STATEMENT:
This policy statement, when adopted, will be shared with faculty, students, staff, administration, governing board, interested constituent bodies, the American College Health Association, and the Elkhart County Public Health Department.
Adopted by Goshen College Board of Overseers, June, 1987.
Revised by GC Administrator, Feb 2