Approved by the Board of Governors on 11 April 1997 (BG97/58).
This Policy is framed within the contexts of four Acts:
Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)
Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983 (NSW)
Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (NSW)
Public Health Act 1991 (NSW)
In promoting the health and well being of the members of the
community, it is the policy of the University to take
appropriate steps to minimise the risk of transmission of
infectious diseases such as the human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV) and hepatitis. The University is also committed to
supporting and protecting staff and students living with
HIV/AIDS and hepatitis from harassment or discrimination.
Specifically, the University is committed to:
1. Providing a safe and healthy work/study environment that
minimises the risk of infection posed by HIV, hepatitis or
2. Disseminating up-to-date information on the characteristics,
modes of transmission and prevention of contraction of these
3. Promoting informed awareness, understanding and tolerance of
issues and concerns in relation to HIV or hepatitis viruses;
4. Ensuring confidentiality and privacy for any person who
discloses HIV or hepatitis infection in the course of providing
or using the services of the University;
5. Protecting the rights of staff, students and visitors who are
infected with HIV, hepatitis or similar viruses;
6. Ensuring that there is no discrimination, harassment or
victimisation of people so infected.
The following principles and guidelines, though focused on
HIV/AIDS, are generally applicable to other blood borne
infectious diseases such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Responsibilities of staff and students
All staff and students are expected to follow instructions of
safe practice in work/study activities and to act in a manner
that does not place others at risk of contracting infectious
diseases. Staff and students have a responsibility to
familiarise themselves with the specific safety procedures
pertaining to their school or section. In particular, staff and
students who know they have an infectious disease, such as HIV
or hepatitis, are expected to exercise their duty of care
towards other people with whom they come into contact in the
course of their studies, work or social life, to minimise the
risk of transmitting infection. Any breach of this duty of care
may constitute negligence and lead to an action for damages to
compensate for the harm suffered.
Prevention of transmission
The University seeks to ensure that the risk of transmission of,
or infection with, HIV, hepatitis and other blood borne diseases
Infection control procedures
Staff and students whose work or study brings them into contact
with blood, body fluids or other infectious material should
routinely use universal precautions and infection control
procedures.(see Appendix 1) Comprehensive procedures and
guidelines to be followed by staff and students in the
laboratory setting and areas deemed high risk will be developed
by the Biosafety Committee.
It is the responsibility of Faculties and Divisions to ensure
* safe procedures relevant to their work and study areas are
established, documented and disseminated to staff and students;
* appropriate clothing and equipment is provided as required;
* all accidents/incidents which may place staff, students or
others at risk of infection are noted and actioned in accordance
with established procedures.
Training and education
The contents of this Policy will be widely disseminated to staff
Education programs will be included in appropriate staff
development courses and student orientations to provide
information both on the transmission of infectious diseases such
as HIV and Hepatitis and employees' and students' legal rights
and responsibilities in the work and study place.
It will be the responsibility of Faculties and Divisions with
the assistance of the Biosafety Committee to ensure appropriate
education and instruction of staff and students who come into
contact with human blood, body fluids or tissues as part of
their duties or study program, to minimise occupational health
and safety risks associated with HIV, hepatitis and other blood
Faculties will also ensure that the course content of relevant
undergraduate and postgraduate programs adequately prepares
students for professions where issues related to HIV and
hepatitis infection may arise.
There is no vaccine for HIV. Immunisation is available to
protect against the transmission of Hepatitis A and B.
Vaccination programs will be made accessible to staff and
students whose work/study puts them at a higher risk of exposure
to the hepatitis virus (as determined by the Biosafety
Facilities to minimise social transmission
The University will provide appropriate facilities to minimise
the transmission of HIV and hepatitis viruses through social
activities on campus, such as accessible condom vending machines
and needle exchange programs. The availability of such
facilities as a means of limiting the transmission of HIV and
hepatitis viruses should be publicised to students on each
Rights of people who have HIV, hepatitis or similar viruses.
In accordance with its Equal Opportunity Policy, Charles Sturt
University is committed to providing a learning and employment
environment that is free of discrimination and harassment and
supportive of productivity, academic achievement and the dignity
and self-esteem of every student and employee.
The University has an obligation and a commitment to take all
reasonable steps to accommodate staff and students who are
living with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis or similar viruses.
Discrimination, harassment or unfair treatment on the basis of
infection or perceived infection will not be tolerated by the
The University has a grievance procedure for resolving
complaints of unfair treatment, discrimination or harassment.
The confidentiality of grievances is covered in the section
“Confidentiality and Privacy”.
The Grievance Procedure is coordinated by the Equal Opportunity
Unit and Grievance Advisers are available on each campus.
Members of the university community wanting information or
advice with regard to a complaint of discrimination or
harassment, should contact a Grievance Adviser or staff of the
Equal Opportunity Unit.
Students may also wish to contact specific student organisations
for information, support or referral, such as the Students'
Council, Gay and Lesbian student groups, International Students
Association or Aboriginal Students Association, or any other
person or organisation.
Confidentiality and privacy
The university has a statutory responsibility to ensure the
confidentiality of information about staff or students with
HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.
All steps should be taken to ensure privacy and confidentiality
in all situations related to HIV/AIDS or other infectious
diseases. Improper breaches of confidence and the release of
confidential information are illegal, can constitute
discrimination and result in the lodgement of a complaint with
the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board or Human Rights Commission.
* Students and employees are not legally obliged to inform the
university of their HIV status.
* Personnel and medical records are to be treated with strict
confidentiality and kept in a secure place.
* Information on employees obtained in the process of applying
for superannuation and insurance is private and confidential.
* Consent to disclose information must be obtained from the
person to whom the information relates before it can be
disclosed to other persons.
Disclosure of a person's HIV status may be defamatory.
The University Health Service and the Counselling Service will
provide confidential information and referrals for both staff
and students who have concerns regarding communicable diseases.
Counselling support is available for staff through the
University's Employee Assistance program (EAP) run by IPS and
for students through Student Services.
The University Health Service can provide HIV antibody
screening, hepatitis B screening and vaccinations, and
counselling. Confidential referrals can be arranged for other
services such as blood tests, needle and syringe exchange, and
Staff of the University's Equal Opportunity Unit can provide
confidential information on staff and students' rights and
responsibilities with regard to infectious diseases such as
HIV/AIDS, hepatitis etc. The Unit can also provide assistance
with EEO and discrimination issues.
The Occupational Health & Safety Unit can assist Faculties and
Divisions to develop policies and procedures that will enable
them to meet the University's health and safety obligations with
regard to HIV and hepatitis. The Unit can also facilitate
training if requested.
It is the responsibility of these sections to keep up to date
with services available within the community and refer staff or
students where appropriate.
Responsibility for implementing this policy
It is the responsibility of the Vice-Chancellor under the
provisions of the relevant legislation (see Statutory
Requirements) to ensure that this Policy is upheld and the
objectives within it are met. The mechanisms and delegations
already established within the University under the terms of
these acts will be used for the implementation of the Policy.
In the case of the anti-discrimination provisions of the policy,
those to whom the Vice-Chancellor has delegated responsibility
under the provisions of the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative
Action Policy will be responsible.
In the case of the occupational health and safety provisions,
the Occupational Health and Safety Policy nominates the Deputy
Vice-Chancellor (Management Services) as primarily responsible
What is HIV/AIDS?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) gradually impairs the
immune system, making the body vulnerable to the development of
various other infections and cancers. A person can be free of
symptoms and unaware of their HIV status for many years. HIV
infection develops into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
(AIDS) when the person's immune system diminishes to the point
that they develop various AIDS related infections and illnesses.
The average time period from HIV infection to the development of
AIDS is 8 to 10 years.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a number of
different viruses (hepatitis A, B, C etc) which attack the
liver. Hepatitis A is generally non-fatal and has no long term
effects. However, hepatitis B and other strains of the hepatitis
virus are severely debilitating, and can cause chronic infection
leading to potentially fatal liver disease in later life.
Symptoms of viral hepatitis include fatigue, mild fever, muscle
or joint aches, vomiting, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. A
person with hepatitis is generally infectious during the time
he/she feels unwell but may also be infectious for some time
after this. A person with blood borne hepatitis may not have
fallen ill but may be infectious to others for some time.
How are the viruses transmitted?
Studies throughout the world have demonstrated that HIV is
transmitted in only three ways:
1. Through unprotected sexual intercourse. This includes
exchange of all body fluids which may occur during penis/
vaginal/ anal insertive and receptive sexual intercourse. Oral/
genital sex may also be a potential risk. Oral/ anal sexual
practices are considered high risk behaviours.
2. Through blood or blood products being introduced into the
body, primarily through sharing needles and using syringes to
inject substances, but also via open wounds.
3. In some circumstances from HIV positive mother to baby
(before birth, during birth or afterwards by breast feeding).
Hepatitis A is normally transmitted by oral ingestion of food or
water contaminated with faeces from an infected person.
Transmission is prevented by hand washing, particularly by food
handlers, and ensuring that drinking water is uncontaminated. A
hepatitis A vaccine is available.
Hepatitis B is transmitted by blood and some body fluids. Blood,
saliva and sexual secretions of hepatitis B carriers and people
with acute hepatitis B are potentially infectious. A hepatitis B
vaccine is available.
Hepatitis C and other more recently identified strains of the
virus (also potentially fatal) are transmitted by blood.
However, knowledge about their spread in the community is still
incomplete. A vaccine is not yet available.
Blood borne hepatitis can be contracted in the same way as HIV
but the risk of infection with hepatitis is much greater.
HIV and specifically hepatitis type B and C infection do not
occur through ordinary social contact. There is no evidence to
suggest HIV infection being contracted through the sharing of
cutlery or crockery, hand shaking, kissing, coughing or
sneezing, mosquitoes, toilets, swimming pools, drinking
fountains, sharing equipment such as telephones or any form of
casual contact or domestic living arrangements with people who
are infected with HIV. It may be possible for the hepatitis
virus to be contracted through sharing of razors or toothbrushes
or objects which penetrate the skin.
HIV And The Workplace
Outside of laboratory and health care settings, there is no
evidence of HIV transmission through casual person to person
contact. Those working or studying in laboratory and health care
settings who follow universal infection control procedures (see
Appendix 1) are extremely unlikely to contract HIV or hepatitis.
The NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 makes it generally unlawful
to discriminate against people with HIV/AIDS by virtue of their:
• disability (the definition of which includes any organism in
the body that could cause a disease or illness, and encompasses
past, present, imputed and future disability;
• homosexuality (actual or presumed); or
• race, nationality or ethnic background, or transgender.
It is unlawful to discriminate on any of these grounds in
employment or when providing accommodation, education or goods
Types of HIV/AIDS related discrimination include:
• discrimination against people who are HIV positive or have an
HIV related illness, or who have AIDS;
• discrimination against homosexuals or people assumed to be
homosexual because it is assumed they have AIDS;
• discrimination against people with haemophilia;
• discrimination against intravenous drug users;
• discrimination against people from certain ethnic groups
because it is assumed they are more likely to have AIDS.
It is also unlawful to discriminate against a person on the
ground of their being a parent, partner, carer or associate of
an HIV positive person or a person with hepatitis.
The NSW Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983, states that all
employers must ensure the health, safety and welfare of all
employees and the health and safety of anyone, including
students, visiting the workplace. The Act also confers a
responsibility on employees to act with regard for the health
and safety of any person in the workplace, and to comply with
workplace requirements imposed by health and safety legislation.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes it generally
unlawful to discriminate against a person because:
* they have an illness or disease-causing organism present in
their body; or
• they have organisms capable of causing disease or illness
present in their body.
The NSW Public Health Act 1991 imposes an obligation of
confidentiality on a medical practitioner or other person who,
in the course of providing a service, obtains information about
another person's HIV status or decision to be tested for HIV.
The obligation extends to taking all reasonable steps to ensure
such information is not disclosed to another person.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR HANDLING BLOOD AND BODY FLUIDS
Any person whose work or studies brings them into physical
contact with human blood, body fluids or tissues should exercise
universal precautions and infection control procedures.
ALL BLOOD AND BLOOD PRODUCTS SHOULD
BE REGARDED AS INFECTIOUS AT ALL TIMES.
Contact with blood, body fluids or tissues
The precautions which should be observed are as follows:
* Avoid contact with blood or bodily fluids, especially if one
has open cuts or unhealed wounds. Intact skin is regarded as an
effective barrier against blood-borne infecting agents.
* Use disposable gloves for direct contact with blood or body
fluids. Hands should be washed immediately after gloves are
removed. Hands and other skin surfaces should be washed
immediately and thoroughly if contaminated with blood or other
* Place contaminated waste material in a plastic bag, labelled
"Contaminated Waste". Seal carefully and dispose of in
accordance with the documented procedures for the School or
* Floors desks, equipment and other contaminated items should be
thoroughly cleaned with detergent and water and then washed with
a 1:5 dilution of household bleach in water or other suitable
* Soiled clothing can be washed or dry cleaned as usual.
* Report any accident involving blood (including all needle
stick injuries) immediately to your supervisor or the staff
member in charge of the area or class where the accident occurs.