Statement on AIDS - Employee Concerns & Questions

Since the first cases of the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) were identified, the medical community has learned much about the nature of this disease. Researchers now know, for example, that AIDS is actually the end stage of a disease that begins with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV is both a precursor to and the cause of AIDS. Therefore, being aware of HIV infection and its transmission are extremely important. Transmission of the disease does not occur through casual contact; it requires the exchange of bodily fluids, such as occurs during intimate sexual contact, or by exposure to blood or blood products from an infected person.

The College's responses are based on recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control, the Ohio Department of Health, and the U.S. Public Health Service. As those recommendations are modified or expanded, the College will review and appropriately revise these guidelines.

If a Kenyon employee suspects that they are HIV-infected, where can testing or care be obtained?

While the College does not offer on-campus health care for employees, it can provide a list of outside HIV counseling and testing sites. Individuals who are tested and those who test positively should consult their family physician for counseling and follow-up medical care.

What if a Kenyon employee is concerned that a coworker or supervisor is HIV-infected or has AIDS?

Kenyon will not require transfers or changes in working conditions because an employee is HIV-infected or has AIDS or because of concerns about a coworker having an HIV-related illness. Federal law prohibits discrimination against handicapped individuals, including persons with AIDS or related illnesses. Complaints of discrimination would be handled according to established grievance procedures.

What if a food service employee is HIV-infected or is suspected of having AIDS?

Employees known to be infected with HIV are not restricted from work. All evidence indicates that HIV is not transmitted during the preparation or serving of food or beverages. Still, all food employees should follow existing standards, which include good personal hygiene and appropriate safety practices. The concern of other employees about a coworker being HIV-infected or having AIDS is not a legitimate reason for changes in work assignments. The presence of a food-service employee with HIV infection will also not be considered a legitimate reason for releasing a student from the board plan.

What about the concerns of the custodial staff?

If an employee is working in an area where exposure to blood or bodily fluids is likely, normal health and safety precautions should be taken. The concern of other employees about a coworker having HIV infection or AIDS is not a legitimate reason for changes in work assignments.

How will Kenyon respond if an employee discloses that they are HIV-infected?

HIV infection will be treated as any other serious illness. Kenyon's personnel guidelines on medical disability will apply for employees who are unable to continue working.

Are medical and employment records confidential?

Yes. Medical information provided by the employee for the personnel record is confidential. Anyone who handles personnel or medical records may not improperly release information from these files. Kenyon will not make available confidential information about students or employees except when required by law or when given written permission by the employee or student.

Are there specific provisions in the College's health and life insurance policies regarding HIV infection and AIDS?

No. HIV infection and AIDS are treated as any other chronic illness. Life insurance benefits would be paid to the named beneficiary; disability insurance also has no exclusions and would be paid.

Will employees be routinely tested for HIV infection?

No. Kenyon does not require HIV-antibody testing for the purpose of employment or continued employment. However, if a person suspects that they have been exposed to HIV, testing is recommended. The Health and Counseling Center can provide a list of off-campus counseling and testing sites.