HIV, STD and Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention
Regulations: N.J.A.C. 6A:16-1.4(b)2-4 specifically addresses required policies and procedures regarding students and staff with HIV infection. The prevention of HIV infection, sexually transmitted infections and adolescent pregnancy is critical to improving the health of adolescents and young adults.
Student right to protections from occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens during vocational education: N.J.A.C. 6A:19-6.3 requires schools to identify students at risk of exposure due to participation in vocational and technical education and to provide the same level of training and protective measures from blood-borne parthogens as under state PEOSH and federal OSHA rules.
Pregnant, parenting or married student right to equity in education: New Jersey regulations N.J.A.C. 6A:7, Managing for Equality and Equity in Education, require schools to meet federal statute 20 U. S. C. §§ 1681 et seq and implementing federal regulations 34 CFR Part 106 that protect the right to equal education of pregnant, potentially pregnant, parenting and married students. These students may, under certain circumstances, be offered alternative education but may not be excluded from their usual educational setting or services.
HIV-positive student right to equity in education: N.J.A.C. 6A:16-1.4(b) and N.J.A.C. 8:61-2.1 prohibit schools from excluding a student with HIV from school and school services and from assigning a student with HIV to separate or special settings because of HIV infection.
HIV-positive student right of confidentiality: N.J.A.C. 6A:16-1.4(a) and 2.4(e) require public schools to meet the confidentiality standard for HIV-identifying information that is established atN.J.S.A. 26:5C-5 et seq. Information that identifies a student as having HIV infection or AIDS shall be shared only with prior written informed consent of the student age 12 or greater, or of the student's parent and only for the purpose of determining an appropriate educational program for the student. Information concerning a student’s HIV/AIDS status shall not be required as part of the medical examination or health history.
Student right to consent to testing and treatment:
Note: For purposes of consent to healthcare in New Jersey, “minor” means less than 18 years of age.
N.J.S.A. 9:17A-1 establishes the right of a pregnant woman who is a minor to consent to her own health care related to the pregnancy.
N.J.S.A. 9:17A-4 establishes the right of a minor to consent to testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
N.J.S.A. 9:17A-4 establishes the right of a person age 13 or older who believes they may have HIV to consent to testing.
New Jersey Student Health Survey
The NJDOE conducts a bi-annual survey among high school students concerning behaviors related to preventable illness and injury. The survey includes questions on sexual intercourse, HIV and STD testing, use of alcohol or drugs prior to sexual intercourse, methods for preventing pregnancy or STD infection, pregnancy, partner violence and receipt of HIV prevention education in school.
Q1. Who needs to know that a student or employee has HIV infection?
A. There is no need for anyone at school to know the HIV status of pupils or employees. What everyone does need to understand is that the blood of any student or employee could potentially be infected with a bloodborne pathogen such as HIV or Hepatitis B and that under normal conditions in regular educational programs, use of universal precautions is sufficient to protect against transmission of bloodborne diseases. Schools are required to help school staff understand and maintain this minimal risk through written procedures and staff training. Under federal OSHA rules at 29 CFR 1910.1030 and New Jersey PEOSH, school district must provide annual inservice training and ready access to the necessary protective equipment to those who have been identified as at-risk of exposure to blood under the school district Exposure Control Plan. Additional instruction of students in universal precautions and first aid procedures assists school staff in implementing this policy.
Students, their parents or guardians, and employees are not obligated to inform school personnel regarding their HIV status and cannot be required to do so in accordance with state regulation and statute. School staff with knowledge of the HIV status of others in the school is not at liberty to share that information with others without specific written consent.
Q2. How do records related to the HIV status of students relate to other records maintained by the school?
A. While not required to do so, some parents or students may share HIV status information in order to obtain health care or educational support. Records and information regarding the HIV status of a student may be shared only with the written consent of the student’s parent or guardian and only with those who need to know in order to determine the educational program for the student. Good practice calls for a consent form that specifies the individuals to be informed by name and by title. HIV status may not be required as part of a school’s student health screening or medical examination requirements.
The standards for maintaining confidentiality of records which identify the HIV status of an individual are established in N.J.S.A. 26:5C, and exceed those established for district student records or health records. Therefore, any such record should be maintained separately from educational or health records and be released only with written consent or under conditions allowed in the statute. Identifying records could include the written consent form, referral letters from health-care providers, child study team evaluations, or medication records. Should the identified student transfer to another school, the HIV identifying records should not be transferred automatically with other health records. Rather, a plan and written consent for transfer should be established with the student and parent.