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Scared after tattooing HIV positive client
Jan 9, 2012

I was doing a tattoo on a client who has told me he is HIV positive and I have tattooed him a couple times and nothing went wrong. The last time I worked on him I got a little close and felt some ink from his tattoo go into my eye. I was kind of shocked so I didn't ask what his viral load was and I didn't have the time to wash my eye out. Did I even get enough of his blood to successfully transmit HIV? It's been three months since this has happened and I still worry about it! Should I get tested in this case?

Response from Dr. Wohl

I would consider this a pretty low risk exposure. Still, getting and HIV test would put you at ease. By now the test would be positive. If it is negative, you do not have to worry about HIV. As a tattoo artist you should make sure your vaccines are up to date including those for hepatitis B and tetanus. More info on how tattoo artists can protect themselves from infections can be found at this CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/body_art/



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