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Actually, they can't tell by the biopsy--all that shows is the condition your liver is currently in. If you have had HCV for a few years but have been a heavy drinker you are going to show a lot more damage than someone who has had it for decades and never drank. I am kind of a veteran with this--my hubby had it for almost 40 years--we knew about it for 10 and no symptoms--then he developed Primary Liver Cancer-discovered 12/05. Luckily for us he was transplanted 9/06 and has done really well. However, the HCV is still there and now is beginning to affect his new liver so we are looking st Interferon--yuck. We do not KNOW how he got HCV, but he was in the military 72-74 and that is the ONLY time he could have gotten it--airgun immunizations--a high incidence of HCV among soldiers. HE NEVER and I mean NEVER drank alcohol, which is the death knell for HCV patients.
If you were an IV drug user, or you had a blood transfusion prior to the rigorous testing they began doing within the past 10 or so years, then yes, you probably can pinpoint with greater certainty the actually infection date.
A biopsy just shows the level of liver damage and inflammation. The blood tests will show viral load. They still do not know that much about HCV,, sadly, all they know for sure is DO NOT DRINK!! That's the quickest way to death! My hubby lived for alomost 40 years with it and God willing, we'll have him for 30 more.

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