Carnegie Mellon University

AIDS (in the Carnegie Mellon Environment)

POLICY TITLE: Policy on AIDS (in the Carnegie Mellon Environment)
DATE OF ISSUANCE: The most recent revision of this Policy was approved by the President's Council on December 18, 1996.  The Policy appears in the Faculty Handbook and is issued annually in the Student Handbook.


Vice President for Student Affairs. Questions on Policy content should be directed to the director of University Health Services, 412-268-2157. Employees may direct questions to the associate vice president and chief Human Resources officer, 412-268-3785.


Carnegie Mellon will exercise full, reasonable care to protect the health and safety of faculty, staff and students, will offer on-going education and support services and will take action against cases of discrimination or harassment based on a person's actual or suspected HIV status.


Carnegie Mellon University's Statement of Assurance

INFORMATION on HIV/ AIDS: The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS
Centers for Disease Control Division of HIV /AIDS Prevention (DHAP)
NIH's Office of AIDS Research (OAR)

Policy Statement

Carnegie Mellon University recognizes the serious nature of the public health problems of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and the threat it poses to the campus community. Carnegie Mellon views AIDS as it does any other chronic illness and therefore does not approve of and will take action against cases of discrimination or harassment based on a person's actual or suspected Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) status. Carnegie Mellon will exercise full, reasonable care to protect the health and safety of faculty, staff and students and will offer ongoing education and support services as part of this commitment. This policy is consistent with and acts in conjunction with applicable federal, state and local laws, including ADA and OSHA standards, as well as university policies relating to harassment, discrimination, workplace accommodation and related university services. It may be revised as more facts about the disease are learned.

Reason for the Policy

This policy was developed to make known the university's position on treatment of actual AIDS occurrences and related issues within the Carnegie Mellon environment and to address the needs of afflicted individuals. Current medical knowledge indicates that those individuals infected with HIV pose no threat to other students or employees in an academic setting because the virus is not transmitted through casual contact; it is transmitted only through the exchange of certain bodily fluids. The university is committed to an education campaign designed to influence behaviors of individuals, whether infected or not, especially relating to safety in the workplace and safer sexual practices, including the use of condoms, in order to limit spread of the virus.

The United States Centers for Disease Control have repeatedly affirmed that there is no recognized risk of infection created by casual kissing, contact with skin not contaminated with blood, or living in the same house as, eating food handled by, being coughed or sneezed upon by, or swimming in a pool with, an infected person. These facts, derived from the best epidemiological data available, serve in concert as the basis for this policy.

Definition of Terms

Carnegie Mellon adopts the following AIDS-related medical definitions:

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a serious, progressive illness caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which reduces the immune system's capability to fight disease and allows for infection by a variety of serious opportunistic diseases. At the present time, there is no known cure, vaccine or fully satisfactory treatment for AIDS.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. It is possible to carry the virus for many years without noticing symptoms. Transmission of the virus occurs through intimate sexual contact with an infected individual, the sharing of needles, exposure to contaminated blood and blood products, and from an infected mother to her infant during pregnancy or birth.

Penalty for Violation

Any faculty, staff or student found to have violated the university's policy on AIDS, or found guilty of discriminating or harassing an individual afflicted with AIDS, as determined by the appropriate decision-making body, will be subject to existing disciplinary mechanisms and procedures, including possible suspension, termination or expulsion. Any faculty, staff or student with HIV infection who believes that he/she is being discriminated against or harassed, knows or suspects the occurrence of AIDS discrimination or harassment, or desires counseling for coping with potential harassment, is strongly urged and encouraged to immediately contact one of the persons listed in the Contacts section at the end of this policy.

Educational Awareness

An educational program is central to addressing HIV infection on the Carnegie Mellon campus. Increased awareness and education not only help prevent further spread of the virus, but also reduce the potential for various forms of discrimination against individuals infected with HIV by providing factual information to dispel unwarranted fears.

The university will continue to offer comprehensive educational programs about HIV infection and AIDS that address the needs of both infected and noninfected individuals. Such programs will include information on the nature of the disease and transmission factors, the proper use of condoms, testing and treatment options, and legal rights and responsibilities. Effective educational programs will require substantial outreach regularly. Updated informational materials will be available at the Student Health Services office, residence halls and other designated areas on campus.

Health Services

In support of offering factual information on the disease, Student Health Services will offer medical care, counseling, referrals, risk assessment, education on safer sex practices, and HIV pre-test and post-test counseling to all students upon request. Initial phone contact may be made anonymously until the caller is comfortable with the ramifications of revealing his/her identity.

The university expects that its employees will independently seek appropriate health care through their off-campus providers. However, Student Health Services will provide referrals to any individual upon request.

HIV Testing

Carnegie Mellon will not conduct a mandatory screening program to determine the HIV status of faculty, staff or students. However, Student Health Services will be familiar with testing sites and will make referrals. Pre-test and post-test counseling will be available at the Student Health Services office for students only; employees will be referred to local testing programs. Employees may also contact the university's Employee Assistance Program for confidential counseling.


The university will comply with federal and state laws, regulations and policies that protect the confidentiality of medical and educational records and with the disease reporting requirements of the Allegheny County Health Department and Pennsylvania Department of Health. Student Health Services will not release medical information of any kind to any person, group, agency, parent, family member, insurer, employer or institution without the prior, specific, written informed consent of the individual involved unless required by law or court order. No faculty or staff member will enter information that a student or employee has AIDS into non-medical, employment or education records without the knowledge and consent of the student or employee involved.

Administrators of the Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Housing Office, Department of Human Resources and Division of Student Affairs must make all personnel aware of the need to protect confidential information. Each unit will have procedures in place for the maintenance of secure confidential records. Any purposeful or accidental breach of the security of confidential information on the part of unit personnel will be met by prompt, effective action in accordance with university personnel policies.

Impact on Students

Admissions - The university will not discriminate in accepting and/or enrolling applicants on the basis of actual or suspected AIDS status, or require any applicant to take an HIV test or provide any information concerning AIDS for the purposes of acceptance, enrollment or continuing enrollment.

Classroom - Reasonable accommodations for students with AIDS will be provided consistent with the university's policy on making reasonable accommodations for any student's medical condition.

Housing - The Housing Office will not discriminate in any services provided, including room assignments. The Housing Office will take all reasonable measures to ensure the safety and comfort of all members of the housing community, including those who are HIV positive.

Impact on Employees

Casual contact with persons who have HIV infection does not place co-workers at risk for the illness. Therefore, in compliance with current federal and state laws, the university will not prevent an employee with HIV infection from continuing in the workplace, so long as the employee can physically and mentally meet existing performance standards.

Consistent with current law, Carnegie Mellon will not ask employment applicants if they are HIV positive, make a hiring decision based on the suspicion that a person has AIDS, or require anyone to test for HIV antibody status as a condition of employment.

Reporting AIDS Status

If an individual discloses the illness to a supervisor or department head, the supervisor or department head should, without revealing the individual's identity, contact the assistant vice president for human resources to obtain information on support and accommodations the university can provide to that individual.

In all cases of illness or disability, including AIDS, the university will not request or require a diagnosis of illness, except as required for evaluating work accommodation requests or processing disability claims. The faculty or staff member may be asked to provide physician certification about his/her ability to work, work limitations, and/or length of convalescence. In the event the employee is not able to continue working, he/she is eligible to use Paid Time Off and/or short-term disability and long-term disability, as provided by current university policy.

To protect the health of employees identifying their HIV status, the assistant vice president for human resources, in appropriate consultation with the chairman or department head, director of environmental health and safety, and director of student health services, should notify the supervisor if the work environment is believed to be one with greater than normal risk of exposure to infectious agents, and advise appropriate actions, if any, to be taken. Any employee identifying his/her HIV status and holding a position which might involve a high risk of contamination of infectious diseases will be educated to take the precautions necessary to ensure his/her own health.

Impact on Internationals

The university will provide equal access to information, counseling and health services for faculty, staff and students who are not United States citizens in a confidential manner. Available information includes current United States laws and regulations with respect to non-citizens and AIDS, particularly in matters relating to visas, work permits, and the ability to enter, remain and work in the country. University personnel responsible for providing information and counseling about the legal and medical aspects of AIDS are to ensure that cultural and language barriers do not prevent the clear communication of facts.

Administrative Review

The dean of student affairs, assistant vice president for human resources and director of student health services, in consultation with the AIDS Policy Committee, will work with medical authorities to remain current on AIDS information and will arrange for periodic review of this policy. In addition, this group will periodically meet to discuss the efficacy of the policy and its implementation, and suggest amendments to the policy, as appropriate. The AIDS Policy Committee will be appointed by the dean of student affairs, chaired by the director of student health services and consist of members representing faculty, staff and students.


This policy was developed by the AIDS Policy Committee in cooperation with the Division of Student Affairs, Department of Human Resources and Student Health Services. It was reviewed by members of the Faculty Senate, Staff Council and Student Senate and incorporates amendments as suggested by these groups.

Area Aids Resources

Allegheny County Health Department
3441 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Carnegie Mellon University
Counseling and Psychological Services
1060 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Employee Assistance Program

Student Health Services
1060 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

University of Pittsburgh
Pitt Men's Study
Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
P.O. Box 7319, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Pittsburgh AIDS Center for Treatment
DeSoto and O'Hara, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

National HIV/AIDS Information Service
24-hour hotline/United States Centers for Disease Control
TTY: 1-800-243-7889 (available 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force
905 West Street, 4th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15221

5150 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224


Questions concerning this policy or its intent are to be directed to:

Beth Kotarski Director of Student Health Services, ext. 8-2157
Gina Casalegno  Dean, Office of Student Affairs, ext. 8-2075
Michelle Piekutowski Associate Vice Rresident and Chief Human Resources officer, ext. 8-5523.