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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

UNITED KINGDOM: HIV and Hepatitis Warning over Illegal Tattooists


BBC News (04.27.13) Aids Weekly Plus

The United Kingdom’s Local Government Association (LGA) warned that unlicensed tattooists and tattoo parlors put customers at risk for HIV, hepatitis, and permanent scarring because they use substandard equipment and fail to sterilize equipment properly. According to Mehboob Khan, chairperson of LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, unlicensed tattooists lure customers away from licensed tattoo parlors with cheap prices. Unregulated tattooists, who work in homes, pubs, clubs, and garden sheds, also are unlikely to ask about their client’s age or medical history. Khan recommended that anyone planning to have body art seek out a registered tattooist; anyone who has used an unlicensed tattooist should consult a physician and report the unlicensed parlor to local authorities. Licensed tattooist Kevin Paul urged people with tattoo equipment to register with local authorities and to follow health and safety guidelines. The United Kingdom has more than 1,500 licensed tattoo parlors, and approximately 3 in 10 persons ages 25–34 in the United Kingdom have at least one tattoo. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, unlicensed tattooists may lose their equipment and face unlimited fines and up to two years of imprisonment.


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Information in this article was accurate in April 29, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.