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Tattoo, HIV Risk?

Question: 

I received a tattoo on friday, and by sunday, I began developing cold symptoms. On monday, I felt like I had a cold, but my symptoms were mild. I received my tattoo from a very clean, professional parlor where i have also received multiple piercings. although i did not see the artist change the needle, he took about 20 mins in between me and the girls who had gone before me to "clean up," and i'm assuming he changed the needle then. I know that the girls in front of me were HIV negative. under these circumstances, what are the chances on contracting HIV from a tattoo? is my cold a coincidence?

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the likelihood of acquiring HIV by receiving a tattoo at a professional tattooing and piercing parlour. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be Negligible Risk (there are no evidence or no documented cases of transmission of this scenario).

The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation as there would be no transfer of HIV-containing fluids when clean and sterile equipment, as well as new ink, is used by a licensed tattoo artist. It is important to note that the risk of HIV transmission from receiving a tattoo is increased when the tattoo is performed by an unlicensed individual using unsterile and shared equipment or ink (1). To address your concerns over your cold symptoms note that receiving a tattoo is often a very stressful situation, especially for those receiving a tattoo for the first time. This increased stress can be linked to causing a temporarily weakened immune system, thus leaving you more likely to acquire a cold or flu (2).

Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided, refer to a physician for other health related questions.

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Marie