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Military rules about Hep C testing
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Military rules about Hep C testing

When I found out that I have Hep C and realized I unknowingly gave birth to 3 children while having Hep C, I did some research on whether or not the military tests their personnel for Hep C, because I wanted to know if the military would have tested my military son (so that he wouldn't have to be tested by local our doc too) and I came up with the following information that had been updated in 2009. (below)    I interpret this information to mean that the military screens for HIV but not for HCV unless it's in the course of donating blood while in the military.  My son has since tested negative by getting his own test after I nagged him to death about it because he was not sure if all the blood tests he had in the military included HCV or not, but I'm still very curious if my belief is correct or not (that the military does NOT test for HCV unless it's in the process of blood donation or unless a member is showing signs of an illness like HCV).  I, like many people, assumed the military would routinely check for HCV until I read this:

"We do not routinely test military members for evidence of hepatitis C infection. The presence of hepatitis C infection is usually discovered when members donate blood, as hepatitis C testing is conducted as a required part of the blood donor program, or is discovered during a clinical evaluation for symptoms or signs of an illness. When clinically indicated, military members do receive testing and, if appropriate, treatment for hepatitis C infection. Similarly, military members found to be infected with hepatitis C during testing of their donated blood are clinically evaluated and treated, as appropriate. For military members already on active duty, hepatitis C infection by itself does not render them unfit for continue."

And this:

"Today's military personnel are at substantially less risk of hepatitis C infection than civilians because of very low levels of drug abuse. The 0.48% prevalence of infection found in active duty troops is more than three times lower than the 1.8% prevalence found in the CDC study of the general U.S. population. The low risk of viral hepatitis in the U.S. military can be attributed to existing DoD programs, including:

* High induction standards, which include testing for illicit drug use and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
* Routine, randomized drug screening throughout military service
* Routine medical screening and examinations of active duty and Reserve personnel
* Routine physical performance testing that identifies chronic health problems
* Hepatitis C testing of blood donors and the donor/recipient "lookback" program
* Universal precautions to prevent transmission of bloodborne infections
* Total force hepatitis A immunization and risk-based hepatitis B immunization."


I am really interested in the correct answer to this so if anyone else knows, I'd be interested.
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6 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Interesting. As they do not routinely test for Hep C, I wonder what is the basis for the statement, "The 0.48% prevalence of infection found in active duty troops is more than three times lower than the 1.8% prevalence found in the CDC study of the general U.S. population."  
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Avatar_f_tn
I wondered that too but my guess is it's from those that donate blood while in the military.
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547836_tn?1302836432
it wouldn't hurt if they did test for hcv, would be really great if they did bc hcv can be transmitted.  good thing they don't discriminate.

and YAY your son is neg!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Take a look at any of the sites that support Veterans groups and you'll see that Veterans have a very high rate of Hepatitis C infection.  It is not a coincidence that the VA has treated more Hep C cases than any other organization by an enormous amount.  I am retired military and was never tested once in over 20 years.  I was an Air Traffic Controller then a Pilot and I was subject to regular physicals.  I probably had 2 dozen HIV tests, but never a HCV test.  I am cynical enough to believe that they don't typically test military members because they don't need to.  Since most military members are young, they will not see the impact of the HCV until long after they have left the service. Anyway, to answer your question, military members are not typically tested for HCV.  Great news that your son is not infected!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for the answer.  I figure it all boils down to the almighty money...if they tested, they'd have to treat.

There have been ads in the local newspaper recently which are designed to alert Vietnam vets to get tested for Hep C.  I was happy to see the ad but sad that it also means that there are so many of our vets that have Hep C.

And, most importantly, --- THANK YOU for your service to our country!!

Yes, it was great news that all three of my sons tested negative!  This particular military son came back from his 2nd tour in Iraq last April and within 2 days of coming home he found out he had testicular CA.  (I won't go into the long story about how the military docs told him his testicular lump was nothing and to forget about it and just gave him pain pills and sleeping pills).  Surgery, then treatment and 6 mos later he's still clear.  :)      

By the way, I don't want to leave the impression that I'm down on the military. My son has never once complained about the military way even though they almost cost him his life (about the missed cancer).  The complaint is mine, not his.
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179355_tn?1207410851
The military does not screen for HCV. They do a yearly screening for HIV and thats it. Tell your son welcome home for me.
Teuf
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