There are a finite number of ways you can get Hepatitis C. The common denominator is blood-more specifically some otherbody’s blood in you or on you. Without casting aspersion on those who have it, we have to look at lifestyle, gender orientation, risky sexual behavior and of course, drugs. In the warped VA world of pontification, this VA rater goes to extremes to carefully excise a case of Hep C away from the September 1974 “gonorrhea event” in service.
I’ve never had a gonorrhea moment myself but I get it where the VA examiner credibly describes the drip, drip, drip and the burning, itchy feeling when peeing if you have the clap. What I want to know is what does it feel like when you’re peeing if you have Hep C ? Even more important- does it burn even more if you’re having a gonorrhea event concurrently with Hep C? All these queshuns and pretty slim pickins.
Let’s pick this one apart. It’s a hoot. This is VA three-card Monte at its finest hour. Jane Vet is standing in for her dead husband-he of the gonorrhea event.
The examiner then opined that it is less likely than not that the Veteran’s HCV was incurred, caused by, related to, and/or aggravated by the Veteran’s September 1974 gonorrhea event. In this regard, service treatment records reflect that the Veteran complained of penile discharge and burning on urination in September 1974 and the gram stain was positive for gonococcal organisms. The examiner explained that the “classic symptomatology related to an (sic) gonococcal sexually transmitted disease (STD) to include penile discharge, burning with urination and gram positive organisms confirms a bacterial infection” rather than a viral infection.
Looks pretty good so far. Johnny Vet’s wiener is hors d’ combat and having “sexual congress” unprotected was and is a well- known risk factor for picking up these little bacteria critters. But wait. The VA examiner is going to moonwalk that Hep C out of it right before your very eyes. This one is a first for VA Hep C denial. Keep an eye out in the future for this trick:
Unsafe sex ≠ HCV
The examiner stated that there was insufficient medically-based, clinical evidence to support the nature and/or etiology of HCV infection coinciding with the Veteran’s in-service symptoms of gonococcal-induced penile discharge and burning with urination.
Wow. The CDC says if you fool around without a raincoat you can get hosed by Hep C. But this VA examiner demands to see some bugs in a test tube and a pathology report before he’s gonna sign off on it. Mostly, this boils down to the “absence of evidence is negative evidence” conundrum. Some examiners might go so far as to say the above is some mighty far-out speculative pronouncement. But wait. There’s more. This old boy is gonna milk the cow for all its worth.
The examiner agreed with an April 2014 VA examiner’s opinion that although hepatitis C is a sexually transmitted disease…
Stop the mouse. Put on your seat belt. Rough logic ahead.
there is no evidence that the Veteran had multiple sexual exposures or that he had sex with men, which are the types of sexual exposures that have been identified as a risk for transmission of hepatitis C.
In summary, the VA Examiner would have us believe:
1) Unsafe sex can sometimes give you the clap.
2) Unsafe sex with men gives you HCV, but not clap.
3) Women prostitutes rarely, if ever, contract Hep C and if they do, they do not transmit it to their sexual partners with any notable frequency according to medical specialists.
4) It would require multiple sexual exposures to HCV-infected prostitutes in order to contract the Hep C virus. Exactly how many is not specified.
I don’t make this stuff up. VA actually publishes it with a straight face. Veterans Law Judge Ursula R. Powell affixed her name to it and signed it. Jane Vet foolishly went in without any legal help. The whole thing is a train wreck. I sure hope she files an NOA.