Positive TB skin test, Negative chest X-ray
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  1. #1

    Positive TB skin test, Negative chest X-ray

    Hello Marines,

    I'm interested in enlisting in the Marines but am currently taking a INH, a preventative antibiotic, to treat latent TB infection. I talked to a recruiter about this but he seemed a bit clueless about my situation. He asked me if I had been quarantined, was I still contagious, did I have trouble breathing, etc. I explained that I wasn't contagious and that it was common for foreign born individuals, as I am from Mexico, to have a positive TB skin test. He told me he would check with his "higher ups" to see what could be done but hasn't been very good at staying in contact.

    Well, my questions are: 1) Am I going to have to wait until AFTER I finish taking INH before I can even begin the enlistment process? 2) The recruiter said that if I got a doctor to clear me by stating that I was healthy, I would clear at MEPS; is this true and, if yes, would a standard physical do the job?

    Just in case it'll help, I'm 26, 100 sit-ups, 8-10 pull ups, 3 mile run in 24 minutes (needs improvement, I know). I haven't taken the ASVAB but I scored an 89 on the practice at the recruiter's office.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my question and all input will be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
    If you've got TB you are DQ. Just not going to enlist you at all I'm afraid.

    Also, you can't be on ANY meds whatsoever prior to enlisting, or when you go through recruit training. None. Nada.

    Finally, if you are 'foreign born', you'll need a right to work card. I assume you have one?


  3. #3
    Being a TB converter doesn't necessarily mean you have TB. I have shown a positive skin test before too, but have never had TB in my life.

    If you're on preventative medicine for it, however, it probably means you are at greater risk.
    Talk to your physician and see if he can write a letter clearing you as healthy. If he is willing to do this then you will probably be clear.


  4. #4
    True...however did your stuff come back positive prior to enlistment or signing a contract? That is what makes the difference in this case I'm thinkin.


  5. #5
    Thank you for your responses.

    Sgt. Leprechaun, I am a Permanent Resident of the U.S.

    I don't currently have, or have ever had, TB. I've been told that the preventative medication is something that everybody who tests positive is advised to take and that it is optional. I decided to take it because it lowers your chances of developing TB in the future. What is very disappointing and heartbreaking is that the red circle that develops around where the nurses administer the shot was 11 mm in diameter. Had I been born in the US, I would have tested negative as U.S. born individuals don't test positive until after they've surpassed the 15 mm mark. For foreign born persons, its 10 mm. But such is life.

    At this point I'm almost certain that I'll have to wait until after I finish taking the medication before I can begin the enlistment process. I was just hoping that I could begin that process now (taking ASVAB, background check, discuss MOS options, etc.), in hopes of just clearing medically in June (when I'm done with the medicine) and receiving a ship date shortly thereafter. I'm certain, 100%, that this is the only think which is keeping me from enlisting into the Marine Corps as I've never had any problems with the law, or any other medical problems. I'm upset about this setback but am hopeful I'll be able to enlist soon.


  6. #6
    Keep at it then! Sounds like at least you have a plan. Good on ya. And by all means keep us informed and updated.


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by juanito1984 View Post
    Thank you for your responses.

    Sgt. Leprechaun, I am a Permanent Resident of the U.S.

    I don't currently have, or have ever had, TB. I've been told that the preventative medication is something that everybody who tests positive is advised to take and that it is optional. I decided to take it because it lowers your chances of developing TB in the future. What is very disappointing and heartbreaking is that the red circle that develops around where the nurses administer the shot was 11 mm in diameter. Had I been born in the US, I would have tested negative as U.S. born individuals don't test positive until after they've surpassed the 15 mm mark. For foreign born persons, its 10 mm. But such is life.

    At this point I'm almost certain that I'll have to wait until after I finish taking the medication before I can begin the enlistment process. I was just hoping that I could begin that process now (taking ASVAB, background check, discuss MOS options, etc.), in hopes of just clearing medically in June (when I'm done with the medicine) and receiving a ship date shortly thereafter. I'm certain, 100%, that this is the only think which is keeping me from enlisting into the Marine Corps as I've never had any problems with the law, or any other medical problems. I'm upset about this setback but am hopeful I'll be able to enlist soon.
    Stick with it.

    My ex was born in Cuba and tests positive for TB every time she gets a skin test. All x-rays come back negative and she refuses to take any medication she doesn't actually need at the time. To her, optional means "no." She was in the Coast Guard for nine-years and works at a VA hospital right now, so it hasn't been a job stopping issue for her.


  8. #8

    Update!!

    Hello Marines,

    I am very happy to say that after 6 months of taking the antibiotics for the positive TB test, which I tested for in October, I have been cleared by my doctor and by MEPS to continue with the enlistment process. I am scheduled to go to MEPS for my physical Friday. I have already taken the ASVAB (scored a 95) and only need to pass the physical and swear in. I'm hoping everything goes well.

    From what the Gunnery Sergeant at the office told me, I'll be able to check out what MOS(s) I'd qualify for after I swear in on Friday. I was talking to my recruiter on Sunday, as we were completing my enlistment package, and he mentioned that because I'm not a US Citizen I would only qualify for like seven MOS. From what little I could find online and I am almost 100% positive that even I'm not a US Citizen, I would still qualify for more than 7 MOS. Maybe he meant MOS fields?

    Well, Marines, time to hit the gym (I've got to get that run time down) and research whether the MOSs that I want require a secret clearance.


  9. #9
    Sweeeet. Keep us updated.

    And he probably means fields.


  10. #10

    Update!

    Greetings Marines!

    It has been a LONG year. After my last post in April 2011, I went to MEPS where my TB skin test was NOT an issue at all. However, I was DQ'd because I have poor vision. I was able to file for a vision waiver since my vision is correctable to 20/20. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, my waiver request was approved last month!

    It has been a stressful year. Often times I have wanted to just abandon the enlistment process. I have wondered if joining another branch of service would be easier. But every time I start to stray away, the desire to serve with the BEST and become a Marine reels me back in!

    Since attending MEPS and filing for my vision waiver, I have started a full-time job, became a U.S. citizen, and have worked on staying in shape. I am going to the recruiting office today to update my enlistment packet (and meet my new recruiter -- my old recruiter left) and I hope to swear in next Tuesday. The recruiting station has been incredibly gracious and has worked around my work schedule. I could not have asked for a better group of recruiters.

    I am 27 now. I will be 28 in less than 2 weeks. Becoming a U.S. citizen has been the proudest moment of my life so far. I hope that becoming a Marine and serving the country that has offered me tremendous opportunities will soon top that.

    Thanks for all of the encouraging words.


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