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Can I Get A Tattoo If I Have Hiv

Sanitary Practices And The Risk Of Infection Or Disease

Can one get HIV from piercing or tattoo needles? – Dr. Ramakrishna Prasad

The process of tattooing involves injury to the skin, which may open it up to infection. Infection is one of the more common risks of tattoos, especially those done at home or in unlicensed facilities. People who live with autoimmune disease and already have a compromised immune system, or whose immune system is suppressed through medication, may be at increased risk of infections.

The body is less able to defend itself against bacteria when there is active inflammation or a lowered immune response. People who live with autoimmune conditions will want to ask about and follow the aftercare instructions from the tattoo artist carefully and consult a healthcare provider at the first sign of infection.

Even when a tattoo is performed in a reputable facility, bacteria that live on the body may get under the skin during the process. During healing, the tattooed area may be itchy, and scratching it could lead to bacteria getting under the skin and causing infection.

Equipment, ink, or needles that are not kept sterile or are reused can also become contaminated and lead to infection with bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. Cases of fungal infection have been reported also, but these appear to be rare.

Another risk of receiving a tattoo in a non-sterile environment or with used equipment is in contracting a bloodborne disease, such as hepatitis.

What Happens If You Dont Care For An Infected Tattoo

If anything strikes you as odd or particularly painful, head to the doctor. Its important to act as soon as you think something is wrong. If you dont care for an infected tattoo, you can risk an undesirable aesthetic appearance of the tattooed area or a disseminated soft tissue infection, says Devgan. Tattoos are controlled injuries to the skin, so they represent a break in the skin that must be treated like an open wound, with great care taken to keep it clean.

Life-threatening conditions are quite rare, but things can still escalate if you ignore treating your infected tattoo. As Tonkovic-Capin explains, If you dont care for the infected tattoo, it sometimes may heal on its own, or it may progress with fever, chills, malaise to becoming critically ill, resulting in sepsis that may lead to death.

How To Keep Yourself Safe

The tattoo studio and tattoo artist are responsible for your wellbeing while they are doing the tattoo. However, its ultimately your responsibility to make sure that you are not at risk of catching any kind of infection.

You should do your research and check out reviews or speak to friends that have used the tattoo studio. This will help you to understand the way that they work and just how safe they are.

Make sure that you have a proper consultation in the surroundings where the tattoo will be performed so you can see firsthand how they work and what equipment they use.

Dont ever be afraid of asking your tattoo artist questions to make sure that you understand exactly how the procedure will work and the safety precautions in place. You can also ask to see their license to make sure that its up to date.

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What Are The Risks Of Getting Hiv From A Tattoo

There are no known cases of anyone getting HIV from having a tattoo, however, that doesnt mean that the risk is not there.

It is possible to get HIV this way through an unsterilized needle or from contaminated ink that has been shared.

The best way to reduce the risk is to make sure that the tattoo studio and the tattoo artist that you use are licensed and that they are hygienic in their procedures.

Hepatitis C And Tattooing: Can You Get Hepatitis From Tattoos

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Whether if it is for symbolic sentimentalities, self-expression, artistic freedom, or a visual display of a personal narrative, tattoos have always remained popular for a multitude of reasons. As the art form continues to move from the fringes into the mainstream, many have begun to wonder whether it poses any risk of infection from blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis C.

Continue reading further to learn about the possible health risks associated with infected tattoos.

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The Odds Are Less Though

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the risk of HIV through tattooing or body piercing is considered low to negligible

A Person Can Get HIV from a Tattoo or Body Piercing :

  • A person who is being tattooed or pierced has a high HIV viral load .
  • The person bleeds heavily on the equipment.
  • The equipment between customers is not being disinfected.
  • Blood from the infected equipment then reaches the body of the next customer in large amounts for the infection to occur.

Within the sense of body art, certain requirements are likely to be met as extremely slim. There is nowhere near as large a potential for infection as, say, injecting drug use in which the HIV-infected blood is injected directly into a vein. Despite this, there are those who remain sincerely interested, including tattoo artists. A 27-year-old man who was denied service by a Utah tattoo parlor because he was HIV-positive, filed a lawsuit against the tattoo parlor in 2017, as reported in Insurance Journal. Although the decision was reasonable it does not mean that the risk outside of a licensed parlor is insignificant. In reality, the risk of problems with unlicensed or informal artists increases. Can include gang tattoos, jail tattoos, or piercing between friends. Acute symptoms of hepatitis may develop within 2 weeks to 6 months. Infection with chronic hepatitis C can last for years and cause significant liver damage.

How To Stay Safe From Bloodborne Pathogens

You and your artist must follow safety procedures before, during, and after the tattooing process. The most important aspect of this is working with a certified professional tattoo artist. Amateur tattooists using home tattoo kits are at a much greater risk of spreading bloodborne pathogens than professionals, primarily due to training and government regulations.

Because they come into contact with blood in their work, tattoo artists need to be certified to perform the service. At a federal level, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets standards for bloodborne pathogen training for all states. There are 28 states that use their own OSHA-approved requirements.

Certification programs are available through various providers, often businesses in the health care field, for a fee. Courses consist of training followed by a certification exam.

You can perform the training in person, but online BBP training programs are offered for affordable and convenient certification. To maintain their certifications, tattooists need to retake the training every year.

Working with a certified artist is the most effective way to stay safe from bloodborne pathogens. There is still room for error with professionals, so use the following tips to make sure you minimize the risk of infection.

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Everything You Need To Know About Tattoos And Hiv

According to most sources, there have been no documented cases of a single case of HIV being contracted through tattooing. Still, though, were told that getting tattoos is risky because theres a chance of getting this particular disease. Why?


HIV is a very misunderstood illness, even in 2017. When it comes to HIV and tattoos the messages are pretty mixed. Can people with HIV get tattoos? Is there are risk to a tattoo artist in inking someone whos HIV positive? Does a tattoo heal different on someone with HIV? We looked into all of these questions, and more, to fill you in on everything you need to know about tattoos and HIV.

How Likely Is It To Get Hiv From A Tattoo

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tattooing allows the risk of transmission of bloodborne infections to be diminished significantly. Having a single needlestick injury from an infected host has the potential to cause transmission of hepatitis B , hepatitis C , or to spread a potentially deadly infection into other people. The risk of transmitting HIV to your body is 4%.

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How To Avoid Getting An Infected Tattoo:

Ideally, you’ll have a problem-free tattoo. Follow Tonkovic-Capins advice for mitigating risk before scheduling your appointment at the tattoo parlor:

Make sure your tattoo artist is licensed. “Ask your tattoo artist how they clean and sterilize the equipment,” says Tonkovic-Capin. “Make sure that they wear gloves during the procedure. After the tattooing is over, your tattoo artist should provide you detailed written instructions on aftercare.

Refer to the FDA for more information about tattoos and preparing for your next tattoo appointment.

Prioritize The Healing Process

Take steps to make sure you heal properly. Give your new tattoo up to 2 to 3 weeks to properly and fully heal before removing your bandages. Dont pick at any scabs left by the tattoo process.

Contact your doctor immediately if you develop signs of an infection, such as redness or pus drainage, or if your tattoo comes into contact with another persons blood.

HCV may go undetected and undiagnosed for years, even decades. Thats because the virus and infection rarely cause symptoms until the infection has progressed.

In many cases, HCV is found when liver damage is discovered through routine medical testing.

In the early stages, HCV may cause the following symptoms:

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What Hepatitis Can You Get From Tattoos

As tattoo needles puncture the skin and cause bleeding, Hepatitis is amongst the likeliest viral infections to be transmitted. You should be alarmed if the tools arent properly sterilized and the overall establishment has poor infection control standards. The most common way Hepatitis C spreads is through the shared use of contaminated needles and equipment used for drugs. Sharing personal items that may come into contact with blood such as a razor or even a toothbrush can also spread HCV.

Approximately 2.7 3.9 million Americans are currently living with a chronic form of this infection. For those who arent familiar with the effects of the Hepatitis C virus , it causes a chronic liver infection which can lead to liver damage, liver cancer, and even liver failure.

Can You Get Hiv From Tattoos

12 HIV

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the risk of HIV through tattooing is considered low to negligible. While CDC accedes that there is a theoretical risk of transmission, there has yet to be a single documented case of HIV by any form of body art. This is because transmission could only occur if:

  • A person undergoing tattooing has a high HIV viral load in their blood
  • The person bleeds significantly on the equipment
  • The equipment is not disinfected between customers
  • Blood from the contaminated equipment then enters the next customers body in significant quantities for the infection to take place.

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Can Tattoo Artists Refuse Hiv

What would you do if you were in this situation?

For decades, tattoo artists have worked to make the process as safe as possible for themselves, their clients and others in the shop. This includes wiping down all contaminated surfaces with hospital-level disinfectants, changing their gloves throughout the process, using disposable needles/cartridges and sterilizing reusable equipment in an autoclave after every tattoo. However, even with all these steps in place, many artists would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to refusing potential clients who admit to being HIV-positive.

Artists have the right to refuse clients for a multitude of reasons, whether those be for safety or otherwise. Some examples of artists refusing a tattoo are a client being intoxicated, the tattoo idea being outside their style, the client not being a good candidate for their style, the tattoo idea not aligning with their morals or values or the tattoo being in a location they don’t feel comfortable working on. But, in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, there are disability laws in place that prevent discrimination against protected classes, including those who live with HIV. And not only is the discrimination of people with HIV illegal, but such laws find it unjustified for a client to have to disclose their health status to an artist or shop.

How Transmission May Occur

Tattoo artists create their designs by injecting ink into the second layer of a personâs skin, known as the dermis. They do this by using a tattoo machine which punctures the skin with a collection of small, high-speed needles. Body piercing, by contrast, uses a single needle to puncture the skin.

As a result of the broken skin, certain infections can theoretically be passed from one customer to the next if the gun or needles arenât properly disinfected. But do they?

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Erythema Nodosum And Pyoderma Gangrenosum

These two skin conditions are exceedingly rare with tattoos. When they do occur, they cause lesions and are often associated with inflammatory bowel disease or other chronic conditions.

Pyoderma gangrenosum, in particular, can cause deep ulcers that are difficult to treat. Erythema nodosum tends to come and go, and gets worse when the underlying autoimmune condition is flaring up.

Because both of these conditions sometimes result after there has been trauma, like a needle prick, to the skin, it may be recommended by healthcare professionals that people who are prone to them not get tattoos.

Ensure They Sterilize Equipment

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A safe tattoo artist will use industrial cleaning supplies to disinfect their equipment. They should sanitize all surfaces and non-disposable tools.

The tattooist should also use an autoclave to sanitize their tattoo machine. An autoclave is a heat sanitizer used in medical fields. If you are uncertain about their disinfecting practices, ask them about their procedures.

The tattooist should also not reuse equipment between customers. You should be able to see them remove cleaned equipment from the autoclave. They should never reuse ink, ink cups, needles, or disposable PPE.

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Can I Get Hiv From Getting A Tattoo Or Body Piercing

There are no known cases in the United States of anyone getting HIV this way. However, it is possible to get HIV from a reused or not properly sterilized tattoo or piercing needle or other equipment, or from contaminated ink. Its possible to get HIV from tattooing or body piercing if the equipment used for these procedures has someone elses blood in it or if the ink is shared. The risk of getting HIV this way is very low, but the risk increases when the person doing the procedure is unlicensed, because of the potential for unsanitary practices such as sharing needles or ink. If you get a tattoo or a body piercing, be sure that the person doing the procedure is properly licensed and that they use only new or sterilized needles, ink and other supplies.

Tattoo Studios Are Stopping Hiv Positive People From Using Their Services

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Back in April I was delighted to head for a fancy pedicure at Cowshed, an east London spa, as a gift from some buds. Less delighting was the pre-treatment health questionnaire that asked if I had HIV.

Why do you ask this? I asked the receptionist.

Well, if someone has HIV we take extra precautions, especially if they have cuts or broken skin. I was speechless the staff, sensing my discomfort, shuffled uncomfortably behind the counter.

Despite many salons routinely asking peoples HIV status, this question is totally unjustified in accordance with the 2018 Data Protection Act. Under the Equality Act, it is in fact illegal to refuse to tattoo or provide a beauty treatment to someone if they are HIV positive. But that isnt stopping tattoo parlours or beauty salons like the one I visited from asking people to disclose their status and there are many who say they have been refused tattoos and cosmetic treatments after doing so.

To provide much needed clarity, a national statement has been released today containing guidance for tattoo and beauty studios, written by the UKs leading advisors for HIV care including the British HIV Association and the Terrence Higgins Trust. It confirms that collecting information about HIV status is unnecessary in the context of tattooing, piercing and routine beauty treatments and to refuse to tattoo or provide a cosmetic treatment to a person on the basis of their HIV status is illegal under the Equality Act 2010.

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‘i Was Refused A Tattoo Because I Am Hiv Positive’

Deejay Bullock says he was “absolutely devastated” to be refused a tattoo because he is HIV positive.

The 38-year-old, who was diagnosed a decade ago, said he was shocked to be turned away because there had been no problems with his previous tattoos.

HIV groups say Deejay should not have been refused and are publishing new guidelines aimed at stopping people with HIV being discriminated against.

They say refusing an HIV positive person is illegal under equality laws.

Tattooists should not even ask clients about their HIV status, the organisations said.

Deejay, who lives in Aberdeen, has been living with HIV since 2006 but was not diagnosed until 2009.

He told BBC Scotland he struggled with his status at first and his mental health declined rapidly.

For his first two tattoos, which he had soon after his diagnosis, he did not disclose his HIV for fear of being rejected.

Since 2012, Deejay has worked in LGBT health, which he said had boosted his confidence and helped him to come to terms with his status.

More recently, he has had two tattoos in Aberdeen at which he declared on the form that he was HIV positive.

“It was absolutely fine. There were no questions,” he said. “It was never even discussed.”

In July this year, Deejay decided to get a tattoo for his birthday.

He found a tattooist in Dundee who could fit him in and went along and filled out a form.

“I handed it back to him and he looked and said ‘are you joking?’.”

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