College of Medicine Policy on Effects of Infectious Disease or Disability on Medical Student Learning Activities


This policy describes the effects of infectious and environmental disease or disability on medical student learning activities.


  • The College of Medicine abides by the following center-wide policy on HIV and other infectious or communicable diseases (see Section 20 of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University UHD Policies and Procedures): and shall not discriminate against any person on the basis of HIV status or other communicable diseases (e.g. Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C). The College may not require a test for verification of HIV status or other communicable diseases for the purpose of attaining or maintaining academic admission or continued matriculation.
  • The College of Medicine shall maintain confidentiality regarding communicable diseases (e.g. HIV testing, HIV status, or AIDS-related conditions) of its students in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations and in accordance with all policies and procedures of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University.
  • For students who are infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and/or HIV the risk of transmission to patients increases with the invasiveness of the procedure provided by the student and his/her viral load. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) has issued guidelines for the above infections in healthcare workers, including students. The full report may be accessed at “Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology”, March 2012, Vol. 31, No. 3. There are three categories of healthcare-associated procedures according to risk of transmission:
  • Procedures with de minimus risk of bloodborne virus transmission.
  • Procedures for which bloodborne virus infection is theoretically possible but unlikely.
  • Procedures for which there is definite risk of bloodborne virus transmission or that have been classified previously as “exposure-prone”.

An expert panel may be convened to counsel students who are known to be infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C and/or HIV if they are performing Category II or Category III procedures, and have viral loads above those recommended in the SHEA guidelines for each infection. 

  • No person shall be subject to adverse education actions or removed from educational experiences solely because of a non-task related disability. Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with communicable disease consistent with the current state of knowledge on transmission of infection. If the Director of the Student Health Services determines that the safety of a student or the safety of others in contact with the student are at risk, the Director will contact the Vice Dean for Education. The SVice Dean for Education will then convene a panel to review and recommend educational activities for the student in question that are based on current state of knowledge on the infection.

Approved by the Dean's Council on Education, July 16, 2013