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Q. What if HIV RNA is detected below, within and above linear range of assay?

Answered by
Dr. Rakesh Kumar Bahunuthula
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 02, 2018 and last reviewed on: Jul 13, 2019

Hello doctor,

I have done RNA PCR test. The report showed that the target was not detected in the collected serum. HIV RNA was detected below, within and above the linear range of the assay. Can we conclude that the virus has entered into the body? After one week, I got western blot test also done. That is showing negative. Please suggest what my next step should be?

Dr. Rakesh Kumar Bahunuthula

Cosmetology Dermatology HIV/AIDS Specialist Venereology


Welcome to

Kindly mention the kind of exposure you had, whether it was protected, the duration since the exposure and the timing of the test you have undergone with respect to the exposure. Are you experiencing any symptoms since the exposure?

Western blot is a second line test and can be considered accurate beyond four weeks of exposure.

For more information consult a cosmetologist online -->

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Thank you doctor,

I did not have any exposure. I just wore the towel that she was wearing and I gave strokes on the towel and my sperm got released. I did not remove her clothes. I took western blot after 23 days.

Dr. Rakesh Kumar Bahunuthula

Cosmetology Dermatology HIV/AIDS Specialist Venereology


Welcome back to

The history which you have mentioned does not categorize as an exposure. However, the reports that you have attached are quite contrasting (attachment removed to protect patient identity). Although the Western blot is negative, the HIV RNA PCR is showing some aberrations. You need to be patient in such situations and have to repeat the test by either the fourth generation combination method at six weeks after the last exposure or by ELISA at 12 weeks.

For more information contact a cosmetologist online -->

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