Untreated Hepatitis C in Veterans

Veteran healthcare has without a doubt become more easily accessible for veterans that are looking for it. But what about the thousands of veterans that are not actively seeking medical care? Among this group are the some 87,000 veterans with an untreated Hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks the liver that is spread by contact with contaminated blood, generally from unsterile needles or blood exposure.

Although hepatitis C used to be deemed incurable, the newest hepatitis C drugs have an extremely high cure rate. In order for that drug to work, the virus obviously has to be screened for and then treated as so. This is where the problem comes into play with Veterans. Many veterans are suffering from mental illnesses or drug abuse or worse, that can undeniably be a reason for their lack of medical screenings over the years

In order to assure that veterans are being treated for this virus, the VA needs to end the stigma that hepatitis C is only contracted with drug use and provide higher quality psychological evaluations for those Veterans that are unwilling or unable to perform normal screenings. The VA has come a long way with hepatitis C, by treating over 65,000 Veterans with the new drugs so far.

Although this number seems impressive, it’s only small portion of those veterans who were affected most, a large portion of which are Vietnam War-era veterans. The conditions of medical care, the intravenous drug use and blood exposure in Vietnam are all contributors to the high hepatitis C numbers among Vietnam vets.

According to stripes.com, VA officials are seeking $1.5 billion in the 2017 fiscal year to treat more veterans, a group in which hepatitis C is especially prevalent. The VA is determined to get as many veterans treated as possible. Although this means heavy funding from tax payers, assuring that veterans are getting this treatment can mean beating this virus in veterans for good.

If you or a veteran you know has not been screened for hepatitis C, visit your nearest VA testing center in order to get your screening to start treatment as soon as possible. Here at Oahu Spine & Rehab we see active duty and veteran families every day. We are focused on providing services that give you the highest quality of life as possible. Being a VA provider, we offer our chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy, and more to veterans on the Windward side of Oahu. Give us a call today to make your appointment at 488-5555!

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