AIDS Policy

Policy detailing the rights of students and employees who have Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

AIDS is a major life threatening disease that breaks down the body's immune system and is a significant threat and challenge to our society because there is no known cure. HIV is not transmitted by casual contact. Students or employees with any form of HIV infection do not pose a health risk in a usual academic or residential setting.

Students with HIV or AIDS, who are physically able to attend classes, shall retain the right to do so. They will also have full access to additional university services, including full use of athletic facilities. No restrictions will be applied and no effort will be made to identify a person with HIV or AIDS during the application process for admission to the university. Current procedures for withdrawal from the university will apply if a student requests such leave. The BSU Wellness Center (Health Services & the Counseling Center), Student Affairs and other student support offices and staff will be available to assist students with adjustment and concerns. Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable qualified individuals to continue to work and/or attend classes.

The clinical director of Health Services at the BSU Wellness Center or other nurse practitioner, as is necessary, in consultation with the consulting university physician will be responsible for evaluating individual cases. The senior director of the Wellness Center will assist in handling public information about AIDS-related issues.

Students with HIV or AIDS are permitted to reside on campus and participate in any campus activities open to all students. Any specific decisions regarding housing reassignment and issues involving roommates will be made with due consideration for the health of the student with immune deficiencies. Residence hall professional staff and university medical personnel will handle such situations on a case-by-case basis.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects anyone infected with HIV from being discriminated against by an employer in the public or private sector.  BSU provides reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities as required by law.

Faculty, staff, and student employees with HIV or AIDS shall be protected from discrimination in the employment, promotion or retention process. Established personnel procedures will be used for determining the medical or disability leave, if requested by the faculty or staff member.

Students requesting medical attention will have the full use of the services provided by BSU Wellness Center available to them. Referrals will be made to the appropriate health care providers and facilities as necessary. The Wellness Center is familiar with anonymous HIV testing sites in the area and can refer students or employees requesting such testing. Some sites may offer free testing.

Safety guidelines as developed by the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and the American College Health Association for the handling of blood and bodily fluids of all persons, will be followed by all students and employees in areas such as health services, athletics, biological sciences and the residence halls. These universal precautions are necessary because many people with HIV infection, hepatitis and other retroviruses are not identified in advance. The same procedures should be followed for the handling of blood and body fluids of any student or employee.

Universal precaution standards recommend that surfaces contaminated by blood or other body fluids can be successfully cleaned and disinfected with commercial disinfectant solutions or with household bleach, freshly diluted in a 1:10 solution.

In order to prevent the accidental transmission of HIV in health care settings, the university will implement current recommendations from the Department of Public Health for infection control and monitor compliance with these procedures.

Records containing information on the HIV or AIDS status of any student or employee are considered medical records, and consequently, are confidential.

Personnel comply with confidentiality laws when handling patient information concerning any aspect of HIV or AIDS. No specific information concerning complaints or diagnosis will be provided to faculty, administrators or parents without the express written consent of the individual. All medical records in the BSU Wellness Center are private and protected. Public health reporting requirements will be observed.

Seeing that prevention is the only defense against AIDS, Bridgewater State University believes its primary response to this health threat should be community education about the disease and methods of preventing the spread of infection. The primary goal of AIDS education is to motivate and educate people to change high-risk behaviors and maintain behavior that eliminates or reduces the risk of infection.

The university will conduct educational programming about the disease with explicit information on medical and social aspects of AIDS in order to minimize confusion about this disease. Information on community and campus resources including referrals for counseling, HIV antibody testing and medical evaluation and education are available at the BSU Wellness Center and the GLBTA Pride Center.

The Bridgewater State University AIDS Policy will be reviewed each academic year to ensure the most recent medical and legal information has been considered.

Updated August 2018, by Cindy Calderon, Health Services