Hi and welcome to the forum.
My husband is one of the people you are talking about. But he is not Vietnam vet. He was infected in 1983, on the first day of NAVY basic training. Everything just like you describe: bunch of people immunized with the same air jet device, blood going down their arms... He never used drugs, never had transfusions, tattoos, or even major surgeries. So after wondering for a long time where he could have been infected, he finally remembered that fateful day. Before he retired from the military, they offered him hepatitis C test, but he declined, because he considered himself low risk. I am almost glad that he didn't take it, because our life was much nicer when we didn't know about this disease. He got diagnosed 5 years ago by the blood test administered by the life insurance company.
I did. Vets make up a very big % of Hep C patients. And most of us are from the Vietnam Era.
That doesn't surprise me at all. Men are very sensitive to pain. And most of them hate needles/sticking devices of any kind.
Vernon told me that a lot of people flinched that day. There was a lot of blood.
I also read that even if the person doesn't flinch at all, small amount of blood still gets into device and can infect the next person in line. No matter the device, it is just wrong to use one device for a bunch of people. But nobody thought about it back then.
I am originally from Russia, and in late 80s we still had reusable needles, syringes, even IV systems. How can you sterilize the needle? It is impossible. Looking back at all this just horrifies me. There was a lot of hepatitis B and, probably C, which was called non A non B. Fortunately, I didn't get any shots back then, not even immunizations, because my mom refused. I did get all childhood infections, but escaped hepatitis.
Yep...Navy bootcamp, NS Great Lakes, Illinois in April 1976.
I did not wince from the pain. but the guys giving us the shots did not take the time to place the guns on the arms and make sure they were set. 150 new recruits lined up, air guns on both side, they got all of us through in less than 5 minutes. I ended up with cuts on both arms from them sliding the guns accross my arms and the pressure from the air sliced them. The guy in front and the guy in back were both bleeding as well.
You sir may find that school girls did not flinch as much as service men, but I ben none of them had cuts accross their arms either.
Even the VA has not admitted that there is credence to the airgun and hep C argument. Vets can now get treatment becuase of this.
And it is not Viet Nam vets it is Vietnam Era vets...which incompasses the period that the guns were used.
Here are some articles on the air/jet guns:
Is this enough, I can get more.
And by the way, I do think you are attacking vets. I have personally had three friend die from liver failure, none of them ever used drugs, got tatoos, etc. The only thing they had in common was that all three were in the armed forces between 1967 and 1975. How dare you equate soldiers willing to fight and die for their country as being weaker than school girls. Do your own reasearch and go out and talk to vets.
"How come I don't hear vets talking about the rampant drug use in VN much of it IVDU?"
Because there wasn't much IVDU there. Those practioners did not need to shoot the stuff. The purity made it perfectly effective by snorting or smoking. In fact, much less snorting than smoking.
I'm sure that you must realize that this is a hot button for many people. Many vets were infected using a process which is a vector for transmission. Vets have been fighting for recognition that air gun injection was indeed a factor. The government has not been willing to own up to their responsibility. I was reading a HCV pamphlet distributed by the VA in.....2005, or thereabouts and it still did not list air gun injection as one of the risk factors. It seems to many Vets that the VA prefers to allege that drug use was the cause. It also appeared to some that it was preferable to not diagnose this group, to then increase the stigma attached to the infection as a drug abuse issue. I think that the US government could have done a better job of the way it was handled and THAT it may have cost people their lives.
I appreciated the insight into how having an already infected blood supply in Viet Nam further increased the chances of blood to blood contact in the field. Given the tainted supply and the amount of blood shed in battle one might also conclude that there may not have been that much IVDU since that method of transmission is very efficient.
Interesting point about the flinching. I would also float out the possibility that instead of attributing the blame to the person receiving the shot that the people administering the shot could also have been the issue.
One has to wonder it the soldiers were given the same care as the grade school children as to whether the administration would have produced less transmission. I have the general impression that the soldiers may have gotten been subjected to greater haste, less care and administered by perhaps less trained individuals or on in accordance with correct administration procedure.
Hell, if they even knew what the procedure was they probably opted to ignore it opting instead for *production*. You see, it could have been the- get it done, pain is good attitude, "soldier up" attitude that contributed to the infection, especially when administered by cowboys and not trained RN's. ; )
I wonder if you can compare the two different settings and conclude that the transmission rate would be the same? Was there blood dripping from the guns at the grade schools? Maybe the shots were administered by trained professionals and according to procedure. Even today there are nocosomial transmission issues where procedure is not followed, whether through intention or ignorance.
My husband never ever used drugs. And what I posted comes from his recollection of events. I hope you don't imply that he is just making this up. It would be the same as saying that people who experience long term sides from interferon also just make it up.
We can not and do not want to get anything from the military for infecting Vernon. It is impossible to prove. This day is long gone. It is enough for us to know and to understand how and when it happened. We have good insurance that military provides, and we are happy with that.
I don't know why there are less Vietnam era women vets that are infected, but I am sure that they exist. Maybe the reason is that there was much less women serving then men. Or maybe some of them still go undiagnosed, because it is well known that in women hepatitis C is not as aggressive as in men. But the reality is that there are a lot of infected vets. The proportion is much higher than in general population.
I know many guys who contracted HCV during their Vietnam Era service. None of them used IV drugs. These guys are decorated combat veterans. What did YOU do in the war?
Although this is not necessarily germane to the discussion, but to set the visual correctly. The air/jet vaccinations took place in the US. Generally speaking, the settings were shortly after induction and took place at boot camps, basic training depots and the like. There was no need for vaccination while 'in-country' since the process was to be adequately vaccinated before departure.
To possibly connect, or disconnect, some dots...It does not make sense that Viet Vets were the infecting source through the air/jets. You see, the Vets would not be in the innoculation line with the newly-minted recruits. The Vets were already at the other end of the conveyer belt. Therefore, if Hep-C was introduced in the long olive line it probably traveled in from the street with the recruits.
You are correct. And it was the inability of the military to have the guns used correctly by the draftees that were doing the inoculations. Again, when I went through the line it was one after another, then the next group. I say over 150 men innoculated and not once was a gun cleaned or wiped down. Also, since they went so fast, on mine they pulled the trigger befroe it was completely set and then they moved it....nice little cut on my arm...how do I remember that, I had the army sent me my medical records when I was trying to get help withmy hep c.