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Aston University Polices on HIV/AIDS

Part 1: Policy on HIV/AIDS for Staff at Aston University

Introduction
In line with the general policy for occupational health, Aston University adopts a confidential, caring and sympathetic approach to all individual health and medical matters. This approach is backed up by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which came into effect in December 1996. The Act outlaws disability-related discrimination in the field of employment, rights of access to goods, facilities, services and premises, education and public transport.

Any individual who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities will fall within the definition of the Act.

The Act specifically refers to progressive conditions such as HIV and provides for a person with such a condition to be regarded as having an impairment which has a substantial adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities before it actually does so. The individual will be covered by the Act as soon as the impairment resulting from that condition i.e. HIV, first has some effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities.

An employee who has non-symptomatic HIV will not be covered by the Act, however the University will adopt the same confidential, caring and sympathetic approach in these cases.

Any employee who is worried or concerned about HIV/AIDS is welcome to seek help and advice from Aston University Health Centre or the Counselling Service. The University position on health education, advice and medical care is the same for HIV/AIDS as it is for all other medical matters.

Confidentiality
(i) All information and requests for advice will be treated with absolute confidentiality and will not be discussed with any other person without the consent of the employee concerned. Employees will be counselled to contact their own doctor where it is deemed important.

Education
(i) As a caring and responsible employer, the University commits itself to the provision of appropriate educational programmes through Staff Development.

Employment
(
i) As stated above, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 brings in new measures aimed at ending discrimination against people with disabilities. Employees with a progressive condition such as HIV will be covered by the Act as soon as the diagnosed condition has an effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. It will therefore be unlawful for the University to treat an employee with HIV/AIDS less favourably than someone else because of their condition unless that treatment can be justified. This will apply in all employment related matters including recruitment, training, promotion and dismissal. Employees with a progressive condition will not be unfairly discriminated against in the provision of sick leave and pay as detailed within the University’s sickness procedures.

(ii) Pre-employment medical examinations will be carried out only to establish the fitness of an individual to undertake the duties of a particular post.

(iii) Staff who have been diagnosed as HIV+ or have AIDS will not be precluded from continuing to work except where deemed not medically fit to do so by the Honorary University Physician through the University sickness procedures. The Disability Discrimination Act places a duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments to any physical feature of premises or working arrangements which cause a substantial disadvantage to a disabled person compared with non-disabled people. The steps an employer may have to take are listed in the Act and include for example, making adjustments to premises, reallocating duties, altering working hours, assigning the person with a disability to a different place of work, modifying equipment and providing time off for assessment or treatment. Anyone who has been diagnosed as HIV+ or have AIDS will be provided with support to continue work and the University will undertake to make reasonable adjustments in order to facilitate this. Individuals will not be automatically redeployed to alternative work except at their own request or where it is deemed necessary by the Honorary University Physician for the protection of the individual’s health or the legitimate business interests of the University.

(iv) Positive support and help will be provided to enable the individual to maintain dignity and social contact in the fight against AIDS.

(v) Employees who have been diagnosed as HIV+ are encouraged to volunteer the information to the relevant people concerned, including the Honorary University Physician, so that support and guidance can be offered. Employees can be assured of fair treatment and absolute confidentiality.

Work Involving Human Tissues or Body Fluids
(i) Any member of staff required to handle human body fluids will be provided with appropriate advice and equipment by their department. The advice will take the form of written guidance on safe systems of work based upon current legislation, codes of practice, etc., relating to the handling of human and certain animal tissues, blood and other body fluids.

(ii) Each University Department has the responsibility to make provisions for its staff who may need to deal with an emergency relating to the above mentioned types of work.

First Aid
(i) At the current time no changes are advised in the normal procedures of First Aid. The University will ensure that the First Aid procedures are reviewed on a regular basis and that first aiders receive up to date advice, equipment and information on HIV and AIDS.

Recreational Activities
(i) All persons who take part in contact sports as part of their recreational activities are advised to seek, and follow, the advice of their trainer, sports organisation, etc., regarding any potential hazards ( e.g. the possibility of blood-blood contact) associated with their sporting activity.

Travelling Overseas
(i) In some of the less developed countries there may be inadequate screening of blood donors to exclude HIV virus carriers. Employees are therefore advised that except in the case of a life threatening situation they should avoid blood transfusions when travelling to such countries, particularly tropical Africa.

(ii) The incidence of AIDS in countries where there is a mosquito hazard has been shown to be related to sexual and social habits and the mosquito does not appear to transmit the virus. The highest risk in transmission of the virus comes from casual sex when travelling abroad.

(iii) A number of countries require certificates to show freedom from infection with HIV before allowing entry and this should be borne in mind prior to travel.

Discrimination
(i) The University has confirmed its commitment to pursuing a comprehensive policy of equal opportunities in employment and a Code of Practice has been formulated to ensure that this policy is fully effective. The Code of Practice includes guidelines on the employment of people with a disability. The University seeks to fully comply with the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which makes discrimination against people with a disability unlawful.

(ii) It is unlawful to unfairly and unjustifiably discriminate against any person known to have been diagnosed as HIV or who has AIDS.

(iii) The University will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment of any groups on the basis of their being thought to be at particular risk of HIV infection.

(iv) It is the University’s policy to take any such incidents very seriously and incidents may provide grounds for disciplinary action.

Further Information
Further information and help on HIV and AIDS can be obtained from

The University Health Centre or the University Counselling Centre, or your own GP.

Locally Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic
Tel: 0121 235 3290 (see telephone directory for address)

National AIDS Helpline
Tel: 0800 555777 - for literature, Tel: 0800 567123 - for personal and confidential advice.

Terence Higgins Trust: London WC1N 3XX Tel: 0171 833 2791

This policy should be read in conjunction with the University’s student policy on HIV/AIDS, together with policies established by other departments. The University reserves the right to revise this policy at any time.

Part 2: Policy on HIV/Aids for Students of the University

Introduction

Aston University accepts current medical thinking that infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) may in time lead to the onset of the disease known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This causes illness and eventually death by affecting the body's defences against opportunistic infections and certain cancers. Aston University accepts that HIV can only be transmitted by the exchange of body fluids for example blood or semen and is not transmitted by normal social or professional contact. There is therefore no reason to treat students infected with HIV any differently to any other student, nor to treat students with AIDS differently to students with any other serious illness.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 treats an individual with HIV infection as having a disability if the condition has some effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. A student who has non-symptomatic HIV infection will not be covered by the Act; however the University will adopt the same confidential, caring and sympathetic approach in these cases.

Policy Statement

1. Aston University undertakes not to, and encourages individuals not to discriminate against any student known to be infected with the HIV virus or to suffer from AIDS. Such a student will not be denied access to any University services available to other students.

2. The University undertakes not to, and encourages individuals not to discriminate indirectly against any groups on the basis of their being thought to be at particular risk of HIV infection, for example homosexual men, intravenous drug users or residents of certain parts of Africa.

3. Students who become ill with AIDS-related illnesses will be treated in the same way as students who become ill through any other disease or injury, for example if they require a leave of absence or alternative arrangements in examinations.

4. Any member of staff who becomes aware of a student's positive HIV status will maintain confidentiality and will not disclose that information to any other person without the student's permission, except in an emergency and where disclosure would benefit the student or protect another individual (for example it may be necessary to pass on that information to a doctor in the case of a medical emergency involving the student). Such a decision relies on the discretion and judgement of that individual member of staff.

5. The University will not require any student to disclose if they are HIV positive, nor will it require any student to undergo a test for HIV infection.

6. The University will not disclose to media representatives or any other external enquirers information on whether the University has any HIV positive or students.

7. The University Health Centre undertakes to provide information and counselling for students registered with them and who are worried about HIV, and particularly to those considering a blood test for the presence of antibodies to HIV. For those not registered the Health Centre would provide appropriate advice and information.

8. The University also undertakes to provide ongoing support to students with HIV/AIDS related concerns through the University Counselling Service.

The University will ensure that any person found to be in breach of this policy may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

As required by the Disability Discrimination Act, Aston University has produced a Disability Statement which sets out the services and facilities available to students with disabilities, including HIV/AIDS. Copies of the Disability Statement are available from Registry and Planning Services on request.

11. The Disability Discrimination Act outlaws discrimination on the grounds of disability in the provision of all non-educational goods and services provided by the University, for example residential and catering services, the Guild, welfare and support services. The University will comply with the Disability Discrimination Act in these areas.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the University's staff policy on HIV/AIDS, together with policies established by other departments. The University reserves the right to revise this policy at any time.

Last saved: Last updated at 3:18 PM on 18 March 2005