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Countywide Focus

Board Studies AIDS Policies at Colleges

June 03, 1993|PEGGY Y. LEE

The Ventura County Community College District Board considered revising its AIDS policies to encourage people who are HIV positive to disclose their status to others "when the health or safety of those individuals may be at risk."

The board is scheduled to take up the issue again next month, but a majority of the board said Tuesday that they favored the disclosure recommendation by the AIDS Task Force, a committee of students, faculty, administrators and local residents.

Gay rights advocates, however, criticized the committee's recommendation, saying that such disclosures are unnecessary at a college campus.

"People come here to get educated," said Sal Fuentes, a member of ACT UP Ventura, an AIDS political action group. "They don't come here to have sex. There is certainly a time and place for disclosure, but I don't think you need to do it on a campus. I believe it's a witch hunt."

Board President Gregory P. Cole argued that disclosure should be encouraged "so that people can be protected."

Cole, who has a dentistry practice in Newbury Park, said students of health care professions especially should be privy to such information.

Last year, the board rejected a broad revision of the district's AIDS education policies because students, faculty and community members were not able to give their input during the drafting of the proposal.

Board members, who are divided on condom distribution and AIDS education, decided to have the AIDS Task Force draft a policy they will consider adopting.

The committee's recommendation does not mention condom distribution, which has been heatedly debated among board members. Some board members want to remove condom dispensers at Moorpark and Oxnard colleges, which are allowed under the current AIDS policy.

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