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The Bloody Ink - Is there a link between Tattoos and HIV?



Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a blood-borne disease that is transmitted from unprotected sex, blood transfusion from an infected person, and the use of contaminated material in processes that include direct contact with blood. HIV is a lifelong infection which if not treated, can result in AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).


Theoretically, you can get infected by HIV by blood-contamination, in case of shared needles and non-sterilized equipment as these come in contact with blood while tattooing.


Now, the most challenging question you face must be 'Can Tattooing transmit HIV?' OR 'What if I get AIDS?'

This article has all your answers, so read carefully and do share it and help us raise awareness.


Does getting a tattoo pose a threat of getting infected with HIV?


When you're getting your first tattoo, you must have questions about safety from any infections. You should be well-aware of the hygiene conditions of the tattoo studio as well as the artist who's inking you.


As mentioned before, you do stand a chance to get infected as the tattoo process involves implanting pigment under the dermis of your skin. This is done by several needles piercing your skin at a rapid rate to get the desired results. It is indeed a devastating thing to contract HIV, but with proper awareness and education, there is no possibility of getting infected while getting a tattoo.


If you're getting a tattoo from a tattoo place that doesn't have good hygiene or proper tattoo equipment, you ought to choose otherwise. Choosing the right tattoo parlor and artist will ensure you that you're safe from any infection as well as give you the best output. You need to choose the right tattoo studio and a properly trained tattoo artist that knows about hygiene as well as knows how to ink. The studio needs to be clean and must use sterilized needles. The tattooing equipment like tattoo machines, ointment, hand-gloves, arm-rest all must be cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner.


Professional Tattoo Studios have disposable (use and throw) equipment like needles, razors, ointment, hand-gloves, which come in direct contact with blood. The other equipment, which is in use like arm-rest, bed, wires, etc., are covered with a clean wrap every time a new session begins.


Places that use second-quality material for tattooing pose a significant threat with possible risks of contracting various infections. If the needle is being shared or reused, it's likely that you can get HIV.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of infection (HIV) through tattooing and piercing is low to negligible, although it isn't impossible. There are no reported cases where a patient has gotten HIV through a tattoo. This may be possible if you're sharing needles, or the studio is using unsterilized needles.



How do I figure that a place is hygienically sound?


A professional set-up follows a protocol that gives special importance to hygiene. These studios will have mandatory hand-gloves, disinfectants on each station, the stations will be clean and neat, every wire and other equipment is wrapped, they have disposable needles and razors. This ensures hygiene and safety from infections. If you find the studio of your choice lacking with these things, you must reconsider.


Does sterilization ensure complete safety?


Sterilization is done in autoclave machines, which is for making the equipment safe from any infections. This process is reliable, but with advancing technology and newly emerging viruses, it is preferred that you only work with use and throw material. This ensures no reuse, which makes it completely safe. In contrast, sterilization might not be wholly trusted and lead you to a completely safe tattoo.


The best tattoo professionals will be using use and throw needles and razors to ensure complete safety from any mishaps.



Do I need to take a test to detect infection after getting a tattoo?

A professional tattoo set-up will include responsible staff and strong hygiene checks. It is a mandatory factor where people are to be explained and walked-through every aspect of getting inked. But, there are some unprofessional places where you might notice shabby and unkept tattoo stations. These places pay the least attention to hygiene, and this is where you get infected. Ranging from inks, needles, gloves, machines, everything needs to be given due importance.


Though there are no documented cases that say that tattooing gives you HIV, you may stand a chance of getting infected from irresponsible studios. So, you can relax and not overthink, if you're choosing a proper studio, one that gives importance to good hygiene. But, if you've chosen a shady tattoo place and have been inked already, you must visit your doctor ASAP!



I am HIV positive, can I still get a tattoo?


There are no such parameters that state that HIV positive people cannot get inked. There have been instances where tattoo studios and artists have rejected clients as they were infected. But this is absolutely rubbish. If you choose a professional place, there's no chance to contract any infection as the equipment is never reused, is clean, and the artist is well-versed with the importance of hygiene protocol. Make sure you choose the right artist and a professionally equipped studio.


As there is no such law or limitation that states HIV positive clients cannot get inked, you can rest assured that you can get inked.


I hope you're clear about HIV and tattoos with the information in this article. Happy inking!

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