VAntagePoint Story by Megan Moloney
The end of February 2018 marks the 27th anniversary of the end of combat operations of the first Gulf War, which includes the buildup of Operation Desert Shield and combat in Operation Desert Storm.
Nearly 700,000 men and women served in the Persian Gulf during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Since then, VA researchers have studied conditions affecting Gulf War Veterans and are identifying the best ways to diagnose and treat them. Their efforts are guided by a strategic plan for Gulf War research developed with input from leading scientists and researchers, physicians and Veterans themselves.
A 2016 study by VA researchers based on data collected in 2012, indicated that Gulf War Veterans reported poorer health nearly 20 years later than those who served at the same time, but did not see service in the gulf.
VA offers a variety of health care benefits to Gulf War Veterans. VA’s Gulf War Registry health exam alerts Veterans to possible long-term health problems that may be related to environmental exposures during their military service. The registry data also helps VA understand and respond to these health problems more effectively. If you served during the Gulf War, contact your local VA Environmental Health coordinator about getting a Gulf War Registry health exam. Eligible Veterans may qualify for disability compensation and other benefits. Dependents and survivors may also be eligible for benefits.
The Gulf War Review newsletter provides information for those who served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and their families. Included in the most recent newsletter — Winter 2017 — is a research roundup, which highlights the latest research on the health of Gulf War Veterans.
Leadership and input on Gulf War Veterans issues is provided to VA by the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, which was created by Congress in 1998. The committee provides advice and makes recommendations to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on proposed research studies, plans, and strategies related to understanding and treating the health consequences of military service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the 1990 – 1991 Gulf War.
For more information on VA’s efforts on behalf of Gulf War Veterans, visit the Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses section of the VA Office of Public Health website.