MIT Student With AIDS Dies
An MIT graduate student who had AIDS died of pneumonia two months ago after a prolonged illness, sources at the Kendall Square school said last week.
The graduate student was the second member of the MIT community in the past two years to be diagnosed with AIDS, said Associate Dean for Student Affairs Robert M. Randolph. The other MIT affiliate, a hemophiliac, is an employee of the Institute, according to unofficial sources at MIT.
Randolph said the graduate student had been "in and out of the hospital and had not been enrolled (in the Institute) for a term."
The recent death has not sparked any panic in the MIT community, however, according to officials there.
Randolph said, "I don't have the feeling that it is a crisis. I know that there is a lot of anxiety [but] I don't get the sense that there is a panic."
Chairman of the Infectious Control Department Dr. John Moses said, "I don't think there is much reaction. It's really rather a small number" of diagnosed cases of AIDS at MIT.
Randolph said MIT does not discriminate against students with the disease. "AIDS patients are treated like patients with any other disease," he said, "We're trying to be socially and medically responsible."
MIT, like Harvard, follows the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta for the treatment of infectious diseases including AIDS and Hepatitis B.
At Harvard, Director of University Health Services (UHS) Dr. Warren E.C. Wacker said that the MIT death would have little impact on official policy. He said Harvard was unlikely to deviate from the CDC recommendations.
Wacker said he did not foresee any hysteria about the disesase at Harvard. "We didn't have a bad reaction to a death at Harvard [of and AIDS patient]," he said.
Wacker said three Harvard affiliates have been reported to have contracted the disease, one of whom died.
In response to the outbreak of the disease, officials from both Harvard and MIT said that they were organizing information campaigns.
Harvard's Student Health Advisory Committee has planned an AIDS Seminar for November 20, Wacker said. He added that on that date, UHS will begin distributing new literature on the disease, which attacks the immune system rendering its victim extremely vulnerable to pneumonia and certain rare forms of cancer.