When I visit various websites for laypersons researching Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), formerly called venereal diseases (VDs), HBV is often listed but not HCV. The general public does not know that HCV is also classified as a STD or Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).
“Although not common, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can be transmitted through sexual activity. The factors found to be associated with sexual transmission of HCV are sex with multiple partners, presence of other STDs, or sex with trauma. Case-control studies have reported an association between acquiring HCV infection and exposure to a sex contact with HCV infection or exposure to multiple sex partners. Surveillance data also indicate that 15%–20% of persons reported with acute HCV infection have a history of sexual exposure in the absence of other risk factors.”
There’s a longer discussion in paragraph 4 on this page: http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/hepC.htm
What does this mean for veterans who admit that they had sex with sex workers during their service. Is this willful conduct? The answer is “no” even though we’ve read cases on AskNod where veterans have been denied benefits for just this false reason:
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501 )38 CFR 3.301 – Line of duty and misconduct.”(1) Venereal disease. The residuals of venereal disease are not to be considered the result of willful misconduct. Consideration of service connection for residuals of venereal disease as having been incurred in service requires that the initial infection must have occurred during active service. Increase in service of manifestations of venereal disease will usually be held due to natural progress unless the facts of record indicate the increase in manifestations was precipitated by trauma or by the conditions of the veteran’s service, in which event service connection may be established by aggravation. Medical principles pertaining to the incubation period and its relation to the course of the disease; i.e., initial or acute manifestation, or period and course of secondary and late residuals manifested, will be considered when time of incurrence of venereal disease prior to or after entry into service is at issue. In the issue of service connection, whether the veteran complied with service regulations and directives for reporting the disease and undergoing treatment is immaterial after November 14, 1972, and the service department characterization of acquisition of the disease as willful misconduct or as not in line of duty will not govern.”
Residuals of venereal disease are not to be considered the result of willful misconduct. See 38 U.S.C.A. § 105; 38 C.F.R. § 3.301(c)(1) (2005).
The veteran’s claim was greatly helped because he had been treated for another STD. But no one should have to prove that the one STD that they did acquire via sex contact (HCV), needs a second STD to verify sexual contact–just because HCV has a very long latency period!
Today, the terms venereal diseases (VDs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are synonyms for any any contagious disease acquired during sexual contact but VD used much less now. These 1940 public health posters recall the main VD concerns of that time.