Cedarville University HIV Policy
Cedarville University believes that the compassion of Christ provides the example for treatment of every member of its community, including and especially, those who may become infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's). Therefore, it is considered essential that members of the University community share in the University's commitment to the Scriptural model of love, trust, and responsibility. These diseases call for important education for all and careful treatment of those who are or who may become infected. (Whenever applicable, the terms "HIV" or "AIDS" include other infectious diseases which are sexually transmitted.)
The University is also committed to provide health care services and counseling to members of the University community affected by HIV. Complaints, inquiries, and grievances concerning HIV infection and related matters will be dealt with by the appropriate members of the University staff on an individual basis. Persons involved in these matters will be treated with respect, compassion, and due regard for their privacy. The provisions of this Policy may be subject to revision as a result of new medical information or legal developments. Any questions concerning this Policy or its application should be directed to Student Life.
The purpose of this Policy is to respond to medical, legal, ethical, and spiritual questions posed by HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases as follows:
- To implement Biblical guidelines in response to HIV infection according to Scriptural principles and to ensure that the conduct of each member of the University community is consistent with the model provided by our Lord Jesus Christ.
- To provide an active, continuing education program that will communicate current information to the University community about HIV, AIDS, AIDS-related infections and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- To protect the individual rights of privacy and freedom from discrimination for those who test positive for exposure to HIV.
- To establish safety procedures on the campus which will protect the health of the individuals infected with HIV and reduce the risk of the transmission of the virus to others.
- To organize an AIDS Task Force which is charged with: (1) reviewing and refining the established guidelines as new medical and legal information becomes available; (2) assisting the University administration in education of its students and employees; (3) to serve as counsel, upon request to the University administration concerning specific concerns of members of the University community; and (4) arranging for resources which will provide physical, emotional, and spiritual care fora member of the University community who becomes infected with HIV.
General Information Concerning HIV Infection and AIDS
Stages of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV Infection):
- First Stage: Initial infection of the HIV virus and development of antibodies which unsuccessfully attempt to fight and destroy the virus.
- Second Stage: Asymptomatic carrier state: a person is infected with the virus and is otherwise healthy and without symptoms of disease.
- Third Stage: AIDS Related Complex (ARC): "pre-AIDS" stage during which the patient begins to acquire certain infections that are symptomatic of fully developed AIDS.
- Fourth Stage: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS); a narrowly defined symptom of the disease known as AIDS. (See definition below.) At this stage, the patient has been infected for a substantial time and almost all of the manifestations of the disease are now present in his/her body.
- AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome): A medical condition caused by the infection of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus substantially weakens the body's immune system. Without the ability to fight off infection, a person is susceptible to many unusual diseases often called "opportunistic infections."
- Virus: A minute, parasitic organism that depends on nutrients inside cells to live. These organisms cause a variety of infections and diseases and simulate production of antibodies which would normally combat viruses. Antibiotic medications are usually effective to destroy bacteria.
However, they normally have no affect on viruses.
- Acquired: A condition (infection or illness) that is not inherited nor the result of another illness. A person becomes infected with a disease organism such as a virus or bacterium.
- Syndrome: A group of symptoms and diseases that together characterize a specific medical condition.
- Immunodeficiency: A breakdown of certain portions of the immune system resulting in a greater likelihood that the infected person will acquire certain diseases which would normally not affect a healthy individual.
NOTE: Any reference in the following policies to "AIDS" may apply to persons who have AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) as classically defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),AIDS Related Complex (ARC), or to currently "healthy" persons who have tested positive for HIV but who have no symptoms.
Transmission of HIV
HIV is transmitted in four general ways:
- Through intimate sexual contact from an infected person to his/her sexual partner, when semen, blood, or vaginal fluids are exchanged.
- Through infected blood or blood products. (The risk is decreasing because blood donors are screened for the presence of HIV antibodies.) You cannot get AIDS from giving blood.
- Through contaminated needles or any other HIV-contaminated, skin-piercing instrument.
- From an infected mother to her infant before, during, or shortly after birth.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Surgeon General's AIDS Report have determined the following concerning the infection of HIV:
Based on documented cases to date, it does not appear that everyday living presents risk of infection. A person apparently cannot become infected with the AIDS virus from casual social contact.
- Casual social contact should not be confused with casual sexual contact. Sexual contact is a major cause of the spread of the AIDS virus.
- Though this virus may be present in saliva, casual social contact such as shaking hands, hugging, coughing, or sneezing has not been reported to transmit HIV.
- The medical authorities have not been advised of instances where HIV has been contracted from swimming pools, bathing in hot tubs or from eating in restaurants.
- It is also apparent that HIV is not spread by sharing bed linens or towels. However, the American College Health Association recommends that students not share razors, toothbrushes, or other utensils which may come in contact with another's saliva or blood.
- HIV infection has not been reported from toilet seats, door knobs, telephones, office machinery, household furniture, or insect bites.
- People who have the virus present in their system, but have no physical symptoms of ARC or AIDS are capable of transmitting it to others.
Prevention and Control of AIDS:
The American Medical Association (AMA) has advised that "as with prevention and control of all contagious diseases, prevention and control of AIDS involves two, sometimes competing, concerns. First, the person who is afflicted with the disease needs compassion and treatment, and both those who have the disease and those who have been infected with the virus should not be subject to irrational discrimination based on fear, prejudice, or stereotype. Second, and of critical importance, the uninfected must be protected; those individuals who are not infected with the AIDS virus must have every opportunity to avoid transmission of the disease to them."
Persons who are HIV positive should be permitted the opportunity to enjoy as many normal pursuits as possible as appropriate to their behavior and condition, including instructional, cultural, religious, athletic, social activities, or any other aspect of the University experience. Individuals with HIV infection are encouraged to seek medical advice before participating in programs requiring vigorous physical activity to ensure that such activity will not have an adverse affect on their health. Individuals should not automatically be restricted from participating in the University's intercollegiate, intramural, recreation, or physical education programs because of HIV infection so long as, from a medical perspective, they are physically and mentally able to participate in such programs without significant risk to his/her health or the health of others.
HIV infected persons will not be treated differently than non-infected individuals unless the University determines that the behavior of such person presents a substantial risk of transmission of HIV infection to other members of the University community.
Cedarville University is committed to the development of the character of each member of its community based upon the Christian world-life view and the University mission. Therefore, it is considered essential that members of the University community share in its commitment to the Biblical model of love, trust, and responsibility.
Notification and Appropriate Action:
- A person's health condition is confidential. Every reasonable effort should be made to protect the privacy and confidentiality of persons with HIV. When requesting information or advice on or off campus regarding a person with HIV, members of the University community are cautioned against revealing the person's name or giving other identifying information. Members of the University community should not disclose the condition or identity of HIV-infected persons EXCEPT under the following circumstances:
- Where law requires disclosure by a particular person (such as a physician or other health care worker) who has diagnosed a case of HIV to public health officials.
- Where the infected person has consented in writing to the disclosure and to the identity of the individuals to be notified.
- When, according to current medical information, the behavior of a person with HIV presents a danger to himself/herself or to others and may require appropriate action. In these instances, an authorized employee or representative of the University may reveal such diagnosis and status to appropriate persons, including other University officials. Only those individuals whose knowledge and/or action is deemed necessary to protect the health of the infected individual and/or prevent the transmission of the virus shall be so informed.
Factors to be considered in the decision to disclose such information shall include: (1) the severity of the risk; and (2) the probability that the disease will be transmitted and will cause varying degrees of harm. Such disclosure will be made after consultation with medical and legal professionals and in accordance with the Family Education and Right to Privacy Act (FERPA).
- The University will evaluate each case on an individual basis to determine whether reasonable accommodations are available. In cases where an HIV-infected person presents a risk of danger to himself/herself or to others, the appropriate action or accommodations may include:
- Interruption of class attendance
- Modification of academic, athletic, or social activities
- Medical leave of absence
- Reassignment in living arrangements (See G. below)
- The University strongly recommends that members of the University community having HIV inform the University Medical Services Director. Each reported incident will be handled on an individual, case-by-case basis, with respect for the individual's right to privacy and with consideration for protection of his/her welfare as well as the welfare of others.
- The presence of HIV infection should not be a part of the admission decision for any individual applying to the University. However, once admitted, the student is encouraged to inform the University of his/her infection with HIV or other communicable diseases on a Post-Admission Inquiry Form available in the Admissions Office in order that the University may provide for reasonable accommodations for the health care needs of such student.
- The presence of HIV infection should not be a factor in determining whether to assign a student a room in one of the University's dormitories. HIV infection may, however, be a factor in determining the kind of room assigned to a student. Currently, available medical information indicates that HIV infection cannot be contracted simply by sharing a dormitory room with an infected person. Thus, a non-infected student has no reasonable basis for concern about sharing a room with an infected person. From the perspective of an infected student, however, there may be a reasonable basis for concern about sharing a dormitory room with another because this may increase the student's risk of exposure to certain contagious diseases (e.g. measles, chicken pox, infectious mononucleosis) which occasionally appear on campus. These diseases are more dangerous for HIV-infected persons because they frequently have depressed immune systems. Accordingly, decisions about the kind of residential housing assigned to a student with HIV infection should be made on a case-by-case basis. When requested, such students may be assigned private (single) rooms in order to protect the health of such students.
- Except as may be required by law, the University will not engage in the mandatory testing of its students, faculty, or staff for the presence of antibody to HIV. Any member of the University community desiring HIV antibody testing, however, is encouraged to contact the University Medical Services for information about testing services available. All requests for counseling and/or referral for HIV testing will be protected by the principles of confidentiality required by law and described above.
- For the protection of themselves and other members of the University community, persons who have a reasonable basis for believing they are infected must conduct themselves responsibly and in conformity with Scriptural principles.
- Each department of the University should become familiar with the safety guidelines and universal precautions (i.e., appropriate hand-washing, use of protective barriers, and care in the use and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments) proposed by the CDC for the handling of human blood and body fluids. These safety guidelines emphasize adherence to universal precautions that require that blood and other specified body fluids of all persons be handled as if they contain blood-borne pathogens. Current guidelines and precautions are available from the University Medical Services. Body fluids such as tears, vomitus, urine, and feces are thought to present very low or no risk of HIV infection unless they contain blood. However, gloves should always be used when handling or disposing of bodily fluids. Since accidents or injuries resulting in the discharge of blood or other body fluids can happen anywhere, each department should have procedures in place for responding to such occurrences in a manner consistent with medical knowledge. [The most basic of these recommendations is that surfaces contaminated by human blood or other body fluids should be cleaned and disinfected with commercial disinfectant solutions or with household bleach freshly diluted 1:10 with water. Individuals engaged in cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces should wear either latex or plastic gloves.]
- No otherwise qualified person shall be denied or dismissed from employment or restricted as to work assignment or opportunities for job changes unless such an individual has a currently contagious disease or infection and who, by reason of such disease or infection, would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or who, by reason of the currently contagious disease or infection, is unable to perform the duties of the job. If the Vice President determines that by reason of such disease or infection there exists a direct threat to the health or safety of others or the individual is unable to perform the duties of his/her employment, the University may take appropriate action consistent with appropriate Federal and State law and the University's own policies. Such action may include, but not be limited to:
- Medical leave of absence
- Change of employment assignment
- Denial of employment
Counseling and Education
- As indicated above, the love and compassion exemplified by Christ should provide the model for those responsible for the care of one who is infected with the virus.
- While not required to do so, any HIV-infected person is urged to make his/her condition known in order that he/she may receive proper services from the appropriate University personnel and resources with full confidence of the University's support as set forth in this Statement.
- Counseling of a person with HIV should include advice to avoid activities that may lead to the spread of the disease to others, including sexual contact, blood donation, and sharing of needles, razors, or other articles that may become contaminated with blood. The infected person should also be advised to make his/her condition known to doctors, dentists, and others who may be at special risk of acquiring the HIV or AIDS virus. Also, counseling of an HIV-positive person should include information designed to protect such person from further medical difficulties, including, but not limited to, infection by opportunistic diseases.
- The Task Force will be charged with the responsibilities set forth above and will be composed of persons selected by the Vice President of Student Life. It may include the following persons:
- The representative from Academic Affairs
- The Deans and Associate Deans
- A person from the School of Nursing, designated by its Chairperson
- A representative from the student body, designated by the President of Student Government
- The physician currently in supervision of the University Medical Services
- The University's general counsel
- The Associate Vice President of Human Resources
- The responsibilities of the Task Force may include the preparation and report of the following:
- General guidelines relating to employees and students
- Infection control guidelines for instructional areas
- Recommendations for AIDS information which should include a list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of nations and local organizations which can provide such information about AIDS
- Specific recommendations to implement outreach to the campus community through various programs and the identification of awareness training materials
- Specific recommendations for methods of AIDS education on campus