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Campus AIDS Rumpus


The following article from 'OUTburst' shows the level of ignorance, even in academic institutions, at the height of the AIDS crisis.

'OUTburst' May 4th 1990


Over 200 volunteers from AIDS organisations have condemned Birmingham University management for pandering to ignorance.
Delegates to the largest volunteer AIDS conference in the UK and Republic of Ireland, this year, were offended when they saw domestic staff wearing rubber gloves and plastic aprons to change bedding and linen before they left.

Conference organisers said university management were making excuses about what staff were doing rather than tackling the real problem. Members of the executive committee of NOVOAH. the Network of Voluntary Organizations in AIDS & HIV, say university management had tried to deal with many sensitivities but the timing showed a lack of common courtesy. "In business terms, we would find it hard to recommend the university's conference facilities to others," they said.

NOVOAH committee members say this illustrates the many problems which face employers in the workplace. Training was offered but university management did not allow adequate time for staff to benefit fully. Despite providing trade union reassurances that there were no infection risks, it appears management did not deal with fears raised by staff later.

"After problems at our last conference, we had hoped that we would avoid any unnecessary difficulties," the organisers said. "The university conference service knew many months ago we would be coming back, but the insensitivity and lack of respect after every attempt had been made to prevent any problems recurring was perhaps most offensive of all. We hope the university management at the highest level do as much as is necessary to stop this happening again", they added.

There are now over 250 voluntary and community agencies working around HIV infection and AIDS in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. NOVOAH was formed in 1988 to attempt to service and co-ordinate this work.

Contributed by: Outburst, 18

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