If you are a veteran with hepatitis C, the VA could cure you, but they probably will not try. Treatment is expensive and they have treated less than 12% of the patients under their care. You will likely have to get treatment somewhere else. The VA is responsible for 147,000 HCV patients. One-third of them will die without treatment.
The 2010 report from the Inspector General proved that deaths from HCV were soaring here. The study revealing that liver cancer deaths from HCV are skyrocketing is here.
HCV is very common in veterans. About 11% of Vietnam era veterans are infected. The VA is responsible for the care of 147,352 patients with HCV. They have failed our heroes by only treating 12% of them. It is a blatant truth why the federal government should not be trusted to do the right thing, that 88% of American military veterans who have a curable illness are being left to die untreated. Their names will not be inscribed on the Vietnam War Memorial in the nation's capitol. They are the late casualties of the Vietnam war.
Instead of curing HCV in military veterans the politicians spend money on other countries or buy votes here in the US with innumerable schemes and programs. Allowing a curable infectious disease to progress to disability and death instead of curing it is what the US government did to African Americans in the Tuskegee syphilis study. Penicillin was available to cure syphilis but the US government lied to patients who thought that they were getting medical care. The VA is lying to veterans with HCV, telling them that they do not need treatment. I saw veterans given zinc and vitamin E instead of antiviral therapy here in Louisville.
President Clinton apologized on behalf of the federal government on May 16, 1997. A future American president will apologize in a few years for the deliberate neglect of our American heroes with curable HCV infections. There is absolutely no excuse for the VA's indifference, and it continues today. Call your representative in congress today if you care about the men and women who have sacrificed to preserve and defend your freedom. If you are a veteran refused antiviral therapy go to you local radio, TV and news station and tell your story. The VA hates bad publicity.
Since the VA is slow walking HCV treatment, the law should be changed to declare that all military veterans are pre-qualified for Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare. Veterans certainly deserve a higher priority than old people, poor people and the uninsured. If the VA will not treat them, they should go to the private sector.
The article that documented that very few veterans are treated is here.
My letter to the editor explaining that the VA did not want to spend money to treat is here.
Dr. David Ross who is in charge of the VA HCV program criticized my letter here.
I responded here.
HCV Vets has help for Veterans with HCV
Yes, air guns do transmit viral hepatitis. Dr. M J Alter from the CDC reported it. Razors used by military barbers or shared in the field transmitted HCV. If you have service connected HCV you should apply for compensation.