Hepatitis C and tattoos?

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Thursday January 24th, 2008 @ 12:48 PM

Filed under: Tattoos


I haven’t had any new piercings or tattoos in awhile, and lately I’m getting a hankering for a tattoo. However, there’s a problem…two years ago I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C.

I feel I should be honest with the artist I choose about my disease, although I fear I’ll be turned down flat.

My question is should I expect to be refused service and forget about getting a new tattoo, or will a reputable artist tattoo me anyway (considering all the safety precautions taken I think there’d be minimal risk)?

I haven’t asked anyone personally, because I generally don’t broadcast my condition to just anyone. I already feel like a leper, I don’t need any more grief about having HCV. If I’m going to get turned down, doused in bleach and tossed out of the shop I’m not even going to ask.

Having Hepatitis C shouldn’t influence an artist’s decision to tattoo you, assuming you are otherwise in good health and don’t have problems healing. As you mentioned, each artist should essentially view each client as walking cess-pool, in terms of the health and safety precautions they utilize.

Unfortunately, not every artist is going to approach things that way.

If you have a shop/artist in mind, you may want to consider simply calling them and asking them if your HCV-status is going to be an issue. By calling you can hopefully get an answer to your question without having to let everyone in the world know your status. This also helps you figure out which artists you don’t want working on you…because in most cases, if they are ignorant enough to turn you down because you have HCV…you don’t want to be worked on by them anyway.

Good luck!!

Posted by Derek Lowe | Permalink | Leave a comment | Trackback

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9 Responses to “Hepatitis C and tattoos?”

  1. I agree. My Dad had Hep C and we wanted tog et matching tattoos. He feels obligated to tell them hes Hep C postive (and I think he should too) and we have been turned away from a few shops.

    Annon on January 24th, 2008 at 7:25 pm
  2. and when i said “had Hep C” i ment “has” hep c

    Annon on January 24th, 2008 at 7:26 pm
  3. Agreed all the way Derek!

    Also for those who have been turned down specifically for having HCV, depending on your experience, can sue the establishment for discrimination.

    Much like how handicap people can sue if treated poorly and if the location isn’t handicap accessible,etc.

    Granted shops reserve the rights to refuse who they work on,etc. But refusing because someone has HCV is just wrong in my eyes…As like Derek said we have to treat everyone as if they are cess-pools and contain ALL forms of diseases,etc.

    Warren Hiller on January 24th, 2008 at 10:45 pm
  4. “As you mentioned, each artist should essentially view each client as walking cess-pool, in terms of the health and safety precautions they utilize.”

    all that needs to be said. if a shop says they wouldn’t do it that tells ME that they don’t take the proper precautions which also tells me they’re not a reputable shop so you’re WAYYY better off not getting work done there.

    AJ Apathy on January 24th, 2008 at 11:50 pm
  5. Went to get my first tattoo today but the artist had to say no. It was a condition of his license. We were both embarrassed I think. I’ve had it 20+ years and never any symptoms.

    Marty on January 24th, 2009 at 10:52 pm
  6. My mother has it and if a tattoo parlor is taking NORMAL precautions it shouldn’t influence their opinion I believe! ^_^

    Sage on September 2nd, 2011 at 4:53 am
  7. I work in the tattoo industry and I can see why an artist would be hesitant in tattooing someone who had a blood born disease. If an accident happens where a needle could puncture the skin, they are then at risk of catching it. (It is a human error which rarely happens and has never happened to me but it still COULD happen)
    I still do not turn customers away for having hep c, but it does make me feel a little edgy. I do appreciate when people inform me that that they have hep c/ HIV as I believe it’s the right thing to do for your artist.

    missy on March 13th, 2012 at 5:40 am
  8. Respect your artist. If you can find a good one with solid health protocols in place, good for you, get it done! But have an honest conversation with your chosen artist first.

    Depending on legalities in your area, the licensing for the artist and studio, etc… if an artist gets Hep C from tattooing you, there may be grounds for a lawsuit. Speak very frankly and thoroughly with your artist, though, and you can likely get some nice ink done.

    Kristin on February 7th, 2013 at 6:32 pm
  9. You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really one thing
    which I think I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very huge for me. I’m taking
    a look forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

    rockstar squeezepage on May 1st, 2013 at 5:36 am

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