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HIV in Veterans Disability

HIV in Veterans

Many veterans are unaware that HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) can be linked to their military service and qualify as a service-connected disability. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of HIV in veterans, how it can be related to military service, and the process of obtaining service connection. So let’s review some key information about HIV and its prevalence among veterans.

HIV in the Veteran Community: An Overview

According to va.gov, the Veterans Administration (VA) is the single largest provider of HIV care in the U.S., serving over 30,000 veterans with HIV across the country. The VA is committed to every step in the HIV care continuum, from testing and diagnosis to linkage to care, treatment, and prevention. Notably, over 43% of all veterans in care are routinely tested for HIV, highlighting the VA’s commitment to identifying and addressing this health issue.

HIV in Active Duty Populations

Contrary to common belief, individuals diagnosed with HIV can still serve on active duty. Laws and regulations may restrict certain roles, especially in combat zones, but the military does allow service members with HIV to continue their service. This fact is often surprising to those unfamiliar with the regulations governing military service.

Primary Service Connection

Understanding service connection is crucial for veterans seeking disability benefits related to HIV. If a service member develops and is diagnosed with HIV during active duty, it is generally a straightforward path to obtaining service connection. However, considerations such as willful misconduct can complicate this process, emphasizing the need for legal advice in such cases.

Secondary Service Connection

Apart from primary service connection, veterans can also establish a secondary service connection for HIV. This scenario may arise post-service, where a condition or exposure related to military service leads to the contraction of HIV.

Mental Health Service Connection

Mental health issues, such as combat-related PTSD, can contribute to risky behaviors, including substance abuse and unsafe sexual practices. Veterans with service-connected mental health conditions may find themselves exposed to HIV as a result. Determining whether these exposures are part of the disorder or willful misconduct requires careful consideration by healthcare providers and legal professionals.

Understanding the ratings for HIV-related illnesses is essential for veterans seeking disability benefits. The severity of the condition and its impact on the individual’s health determine the assigned rating. Ratings range from 100% for AIDS with recurrent opportunistic infections to lower percentages for asymptomatic individuals following their initial diagnosis of HIV infection.

Conclusion

While HIV in veterans may not be a widely discussed topic, it is a significant issue affecting a considerable number of former and current service members. Veterans seeking disability benefits related to HIV should be aware of the various avenues for service connection, whether through primary or secondary connections. Additionally, understanding the ratings for HIV-related illnesses is crucial for determining the level of disability compensation.

If you are a veteran dealing with HIV-related issues, it is recommended to consult with legal professionals and healthcare providers to navigate the complexities of service connection and disability claims. The VA is committed to providing care for veterans with HIV, and being informed about your rights and options is the first step towards accessing the support you deserve.

Also read: What to Expect in a Neck Pain & Cervical Spine Conditions C&P Exam

At Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting, a veteran-owned company, we specialize in Independent Medical Opinions (IMOs) known as Nexus letters.

Our purpose is to empower YOU, the veteran, to take charge of your medical evidence and provide you with valuable educational tools and research to guide you on your journey.

Understanding the unique challenges veterans face, our commitment lies in delivering exceptional service and support.

Leveraging an extensive network of licensed independent medical professionals, all well-versed in the medical professional aspects of the VA claims process, we review the necessary medical evidence to incorporate in our reports related to your VA Disability Claim.

Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting is not a law firm, accredited claims agent, or affiliated with the Veterans Administration or Veterans Services Organizations. However, we are happy to discuss your case with your accredited VA legal professional.

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Danielle McClaskey

Client Relations Specialist U.S. Navy Veteran

In her active-duty service in the United States Navy, Danielle undertook a variety of responsibilities, ranging from essential administrative duties to providing crucial medical care. Her multifaceted contributions played a pivotal role in enhancing her fellow service members’ operational effectiveness and well-being.

As a disabled veteran, she developed a profound understanding of the unique challenges faced by her fellow service members. Now, in her civilian role, Danielle is a valued member of the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team, where she continues to leverage her extensive background and educational achievements to provide exceptional support to veterans.

Leticia

LETICIA

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Leticia has been in the medical field for nearly 14 years. She has always had a passion for medicine and caring for her community. Leticia has spent the last 4 years caring for veterans and first responders with alcohol and substance abuse in a medical rehabilitation setting whilst continuing her education working towards a degree in software development.

Someday she hopes to develop medical software that further enhances the patient’s experience in medical care. Leticia has a deep respect and love for those who have served as she comes from a family of law enforcement and military veterans.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Julie Pereira

JULIE PEREIRA:

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

During her Active-Duty time in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, Julie provided medical administration
and patient care services in the field, the hospital, and base medical office settings.  This military medical and
administrative background has given Julie the hands-on experience and extensive knowledge necessary to
provide unparalleled service to her fellow Veterans through the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team.

Julie’s educational achievements include a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in Human Services and a pre-nursing associate in arts and science.

Julie has been inspired by her firsthand knowledge of navigating the VA Benefits process. She has dedicated
most of her adult life to serving Veterans through her knowledge derived from her military and civilian medical
education and training.

Jennifer Januta

JENNIFER JANUTA

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

During her Active-Duty service in the Army, Jennifer supported various research efforts centered on combat casualty care and Soldier performance. Her military background gave her unique insights into veterans’ distinct challenges, ultimately inspiring her to join the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team.

Jennifer’s educational achievements include a master’s in molecular biology from George Washington University and a master’s in data science from Texas Tech University. Jennifer wholeheartedly dedicates herself to utilizing her knowledge and expertise gained from 15 years of healthcare experience to impact the well-being of those who have served positively.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Leah - Meet the Team

LEAH BUCHOLZ, PA-C

U.S ARMY VETERAN, MEDICAL EXPERT & FORMER C & P EXAMINER

Meet Leah, the founder, and leader of our organization. ​​A combat veteran herself, she understands the unique challenges veterans face, making her mission about much more than running a successful business. It’s about the opportunity to provide a legacy of exceptional service for our heroes.​

​“It is essential to remember that there is no greater honor than caring for service members on the battlefield. Continuing to care for Veterans after separation is an opportunity that I have been afforded to extend that care in this new battlefield related to service-incurred disabilities.”

Her inspiration comes from years of military experience working alongside her fellow servicemembers, particularly key leaders who have influenced her journey, applying their wisdom to her path. She values her team deeply, most of whom are also disabled combat veterans, each member a trusted individual sharing her vision.

 “Driven by passion and purpose, I aim to create a sustainable change that empowers veterans and future generations.”

Leah’s journey hasn’t been without challenges. From overcoming and living with her service-related disabilities to navigating work-life balance, she’s learned to face each hurdle head-on with resilience.  Like many of her veteran brothers and sisters, her early background consisted of limited resources and opportunities. Her military service has helped shape her into a steadfast leader, offering relatable inspiration to others.

Join us in celebrating Leah, a compassionate leader, and resilient veteran, driving our mission to serve those who served our nation.