Senator Snowe Introduces Hepatitis C Legislation: S. 457

Background: Hepatitis C is a viral disease that affects the liver.  It is found in the blood, and is transmitted through exposure to infected blood.

Veterans, especially Vietnam-era veterans, have been proven to have rates of infection of Hepatitis C (HCV) that are 4-5 times higher than the general public.  VA estimates that 20% of their inpatients are infected and that 10% of the otherwise healthy Vietnam Veterans have contracted HCV.

Despite the high percentages of veterans who were exposed to the disease during military service, very few are able to provide direct evidence of service-connection, leaving them without the proper treatment.  And despite an increased effort at testing, the VA has left many veterans undiagnosed.


Establishes a presumption of service-connection for veterans who test Hepatitis C positive and who:

    Received a blood transfusion

    Were exposed to blood

    Underwent hemodyalisis

    Experienced a needle-stick accident or medical event with a needle

    Were diagnosed with an unexplained liver disease or who had a liver dysfunction during service

    Served in a health-care position of specialty

Action Needed:

Write your Senators, asking them to cosponsor and support S. 457 so that our nationís veterans can get the health care they need and the treatment they deserve.  --The symptoms frequently do not show for 20-30 years and unless the veteran can provide direct evidence that the disease was contracted in the service, HCV cannot be ruled service-connected.  --This legislation eases the restrictions, since any veteran who came into contact with blood, such as in a transfusion, from combat wounds, or other medical treatments, has a greater risk of testing positive.  --Our veterans are entitled to the proper treatment, and this legislation makes that treatment easier.

Use This Address When Writing Your Senator:
                                                The Honorable (Name)
                                                United States Senate
                                                Washington, DC 20510

P.S.  I might add that it wasn't until recent years that they started testing for Hep C anti-bodies in donated blood.

I pray that our President, our Congress, our Department of Veterans Affairs and our Department of Defense does not forget about our veterans of this war and takes care of these veteran's problems, be it by injury, war, illness or compensation
as they have not done with veterans of our other wars.

Hal Cleveland, U.S. Navy, Retired
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"When the way comes to an end, then change - having changed, you pass through."


      I. Ching


 Bruce "Doc". Melson