HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection is potentially lethal, but to a great extent preventable. In order to protect and inform individuals and the community as a whole, Lewis & Clark's primary response and goal is to provide education about AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) to all community members. Support for AIDS-related education comes from the staffs of the Health Center and the Counseling Center, academic advisers, and residence hall staff, all of whom are available to discuss concerns about HIV and AIDS.
Lewis & Clark's AIDS policy is based on six fundamental points, as stated by the American College Health Association (ACHA):
- Even though they may not have symptoms, persons with HIV infection can transmit the virus to others through intimate sexual contact, exposure to blood, or birth.
- Among people who choose to be sexually active, the consistent and conscientious use of condoms and spermicides containing nonoxynol-9 greatly reduces the chance of transmission of HIV through sexual intercourse.
- The sharing of needles used in the injection of illicit drugs is an efficient way to transmit HIV. It is possible that needles used to inject steroids may transmit HIV as well.
- Persons with documented HIV infection, and those with behavioral risk factors for HIV infection, should not donate blood, plasma, sperm, or other body organs or tissues.
- Persons with HIV infection pose no risk of transmitting the virus to others through ordinary interpersonal contact.
- It is possible that certain interventions and therapies may help limit the consequences of HIV infection among people already infected. People who know they have been infected may thus benefit from regular medical follow-up and immunologic evaluation.
Lewis & Clark will not consider the existence of any form of HIV infection when making decisions related to student admission or to hiring, advancement, promotion, or tenure, except as it affects the individual's ability to perform his or her role.
Individuals with any form of HIV infection, whether symptomatic or not, are allowed regular access to campus dining facilities, theaters, snack bars, gymnasiums, swimming pools, saunas, recreational facilities, and other common areas. Individuals are allowed classroom attendance in an unrestricted manner as long as they are physically and mentally able to attend class.
People with AIDS (and possibly those with other manifestations of the HIV infection) are considered to have handicapping conditions. Lewis & Clark respects all legal rights of handicapped persons.
Lewis & Clark will not routinely ask employees to respond to questions about the existence of HIV infection. It is appropriate, however, for employees with HIV infection to inform the Health Center so that the institution can provide proper medical care, support, counsel, and education. Lewis & Clark does provide HIV testing services and pretest and posttest counseling. Results are discussed only with the person requesting the test, and are confidential.
All information a person provides to the Health Center is confidential. No specific or detailed information concerning complaints or diagnosis will be provided to any outside party without the express written consent of the employee. The number of people at the College who are aware of the existence and/or identity of community members with HIV infection will be kept to a minimum.
Lewis & Clark follows the safety guidelines proposed by the U.S. Public Health Service for the handling of blood and body fluids of all persons, not just those previously known to have HIV infection.
Approved by the Board of Trustees, November 21, 1997.