Vietnam War Veterans Health Issues
VA provides support for Agent Orange exposure and its related health issues
It's important to understand the health care needs of Vietnam War Veterans because of the long-term effects of military service during the Vietnam War era. If you served during the Vietnam War, including Veterans who served on Blue Water Navy vessels or Coast Guard ships, you may be at risk of certain health conditions. Understanding these needs will allow you to receive better care.
Learn about these conditions and what to do next to take care of your health.
Health risks related to the Vietnam War
Diseases related to Agent Orange: The toxic chemical used to clear trees and plants can cause long-term health effects.
Hepatitis C: This disease can harm your liver.
Hearing problems caused by noise: Harmful sounds from guns, explosives, rockets, heavy weapons, jets and aircraft, and machinery can cause or add to hearing loss and ringing in the ears.
Illnesses or injuries caused by job-related hazards: You may have come across chemicals, paints, radiation, and other hazards.
Mental health conditions and PTSD: Veterans who served in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos during the Vietnam War have a higher prevalence of mental health issues, particularly PTSD, compared with both other Vietnam-era Veterans and non-Veterans.
What you can do now
Take these steps to make sure you're taking care of your health:
Get your toxic exposure screening. This makes your VA health care team aware of any potential exposures to toxins during your military service.
Talk to your primary health care provider or your local VA environmental health coordinator about other health concerns related to your military service. Remember, you can use Secure Messaging (sign in required) to send a private note to your doctor if you have any questions or worries.
Ask your local VA environmental health coordinator about getting a free Agent Orange Registry health exam.
Find out if you can get benefits from any illness or injury caused, or made worse, by your active-duty service, such as illness-related to Agent Orange or contact with hazardous materials.
Be sure your doctor knows if you have a history of Agent Orange exposure. Because of the possibility of increased cancer risk, your doctor may suggest cancer screening tests and to report any symptoms as soon as they appear.
Expanded eligibility and benefits through the PACT Act
The PACT Act expands eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras. The PACT Act also added 2 new Agent Orange presumptive conditions, 5 new Agent Orange presumptive-exposure locations, and 3 new radiation presumptive-exposure locations for Vietnam Era Veterans. To see a complete list of the new presumptive conditions and locations, visit The PACT Act and your VA benefits.
With a My HealtheVet Premium account, you can send your health care team a Secure Message to discuss any possible toxic exposure in your service history.
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Eligibility for VA Health Care
How to Apply for VA Health Care
Updated February 3, 2023