Hepatitis 3A Genotype

Fellow Veterans- 

     The Hepatitis Genotype identified as 3A was only found in two geographic locations in the 60s and 70s. These are identified in numerous Genotype charts that show infection rates for the different types of HCV. 2A and 2B were indigenous to Japan, Okinawa and Korea as an example. 3A, however was relegated strictly to the mainland of Indochina which includes both Vietnams, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand. It also was predominant in Australia. Without digressing into how many military personnel took their R&Rs there, I suspect that the prevalence of 3A on that continent shows that it didn’t swim over from Indochina. Many Veterans overlook this important factor when filing a claim and it can be crucial in whether you are successful or not.

Subsequent distribution has changed in the intervening forty years. With air travel, the genotypes have migrated around and disersed but most models still show a high prevalence of 3a and 3b distribution in Southeast Asia. Perhaps not so odd is the high incidence now of 1A in the Vietnams.

 Keep in mind that I already had a nexus from my own private doctor attributing the HCV to service  and a QTC doctor which stated the same thing. This simply wasn’t good enough for the VA. I believe they were bound and determined, in spite of the fact that I had Hepatitis (unidentified as A,B, or C) while in service, to deny my claim. Fortunately, my private Doctor had mentioned that the 3A genotype was generally found only in SEA. I included this fact in my claim on the Form 21-4138. 15 months later, the IMO doctor, after basically denying my risk factor (transfusion), came up with the lame info that, yes indeed, 3A  was only found in SEA and therefore it was “at least as likely as not that” that because I was in SEA for 2 years while serving in the military , that it was certainly “plausible” that I contracted it there. Never mind that I had a transfusion for a GSW in September 1970 or that I had a documented hospital stay of seven weeks (for the Hep.)3 months after the transfusion.

If your HCV was denied by VA in the past, I strongly urge all Vets to find out what Genotype they are infected with, as this (3A) can be the difference between success and failure. Most Doctors automatically check these days for the Genotype because some are easier to treat and have a higher rate of remission. 3A is one of these. 1A (found predominantly in the U.S.) is the hardest to defeat. I hope this information will assist some of you in winning what sometimes feels like an impossibility. It is true that VA erects what appear to be insurmountable roadblocks to prevent Vets from being granted service connection for HCV. Having the correct ammo for the caliber of your gun is imperative. Close only counts with hand grenades and Claymores. Genotype 3A is the 5.56 X 45mm you need to make this fly if you served in SEA.
Now, with that said, I see no reason to go into your extracurricular activities when you were off duty. Always remember that any admission of drug usage is a claim killer. If you honestly believe that left handed tobacco and Schlitz had no bearing on your HCV, why mention it? VA “examiners” will latch on to pot or booze as precursors to drug usage and say that if you smoked dope you probably were a junkie too. Just for your info, if any of you think you were snorting coke in SEA, you are sadly mistaken. Due to the fact that toot is a hydrochloride based product(water soluble), it sucks up moisture as soon as it’s exposed to the air. If you had a quantity of it in SEA, it would turn to liquid goo in several days unless it was vacupacked. Chances are that anything you inhaled nasally was Junk or White Horse(ground up tablets of methamphetamine). I personally don’t think that leads to HCV, but that’s just my opinion. VA uses any info they can unearth to deny you- even if the info is not medically sound. Blood is bright red if you hadn’t noticed. If any of you were sharing a straw with a fellow Vet, don’t you think one of you would say: ” Gee, Bob. You’ve got a bodacious nosebleed and you contaminated my straw. Yechhh!” This thought obviously never occurs to medical personnel in their rush to judgement. So keep this in mind before you blithely spill the beans in your Group Therapy session. Trust me- they write it all down and it will come back to haunt you. I don’t advocate lying. I simply would ask you to decide personally if the risk they list is truly a risk in your own mind. My risks didn’t include drugs  in my mind so I never listed any. Good Luck and I hope this will help some of you with your claim(s).

About asknod

VA claims blogger
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