According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, there has never been a documented case of HIV or hepatitis C transmission from sanitary tattooing or body piercing. However, unregulated tattooing and piercing, like in Japan, may lead to exposure to these diseases. The CDC advises that people wanting a tattoo or piercing should go to a professional and licensed shop.
Questions to ask:
- Is the equipment sterile? Some tools and equipment can be reused. Reusable tools and equipment should be cleaned and sterilized to remove viruses and bacteria.
- Are single-use disposable needles and razors used? Disposable piercing needles, tattoo needles and razors should be used on one person and then thrown away. Reusing needles or razors is not safe.
- Has the tattoo ink been used on other people? Shared ink is not safe.
For more information, go to:
- CDC's Public Health Matters Blog: The hidden dangers of getting inked
- CDC's NIOSH Science Blog: Body art
- CDC's Workplace Safety and Health Topics: Body art
- CDC: HIV transmission
- CDC: Hepatitis C FAQs