Anonymous
i am worried sick because a couple of months back i did a tattoo on a friend but im not sure if the needle pricked me if the needle perhaps pricked me but i didnt feel it or bleed would i be at risk of catching hiv? My next incident is i went to a salon where they do fish pedicures and my friend said that i can catch hiv from the fish if i had a cut on my foot which i did which was due to scratching in between my toes lets say if someone before me also had open wounds would i catch hiv from this incident thank you so much in advance for your answer and input you guys put a lot of ease to people minds an i greatly appreciate what you'll do
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Anonymous
Hi there and thanks for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline. My name is Colin and I am happy to answer your questions today.

I understand you have questions about the possibility of acquiring HIV via tattooing as well as from having visited a fish spa. I hope the information I can provide is helpful to you.

In terms of possibly having nicked yourself with a tattooing needle while tattooing a friend, this would be categorized as a negligible risk exposure. What this means is that while [there have never been any reported cases of HIV transmission via this method,](http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/transmission.html) it is theoretically possible to make a case for transmission via this route. However, though you are at *negligible risk* from HIV from this possible exposure, there are other infectious diseases--notably Hepatitis C--which are more readily transmissible in this kind of setting. Because the exact exposure was unknown, it is hard to accurately assess the risk and therefore I would recommend you get tested when a test would be most accurate. I would recommend partnering with your doctor to determine the best course of action. If you are in Canada or the USA, you can check out [ASO411](https://aso411.ca/) or the [CDC's Get Tested website](https://gettested.cdc.gov/) respectively to find the most appropriate resources for you.

In terms of the second part of your question, I can tell you that you were at no risk from visiting the fish salon. For there to be a successful transmission of HIV, there must first be HIV present. Next there must be an exchange of bodily fluids with direct access to the bloodstream. Additionally, HIV is an exclusively human virus and quite fragile at that. This means that once it is outside of its host environment and exposed to the elements (air, water, etc) it is immediately rendered non-transmissible meaning it can no longer be passed on from person to person. Even if someone sharing the fish spa with you was living with HIV, you would be at no increased risk of transmission.

I hope the information I've been able to provide has been helpful for you. Please feel free to post again if you'd like any more information or clarification.

All the best,

Colin
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