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Is it against the law not to tell the tattoo artist if you have HIV?

May 2, 2012

Is it against the law not to tell the tattoo artist if you have HIV?

Response from Ms. Douaihy

Dear Writer,

Thank you for the interesting question. In general, failure to tell a tattoo artist that you are HIV positive is not "per se" against the law. While many states have laws criminalizing exposure to HIV, I would argue that tattoo artists (who employ Universal Precautions to prevent risk of transmission of a bloodborne disease) are not reasonably exposed to HIV through a known transmission route. Tattoo artists are licensed and regulated by the state in most jurisdictions. In order to obtain a tattoo license, an artist must demonstrate she is fully aware of zealous safety measures and compliance with industry standards which include employment of universal precautions. Universal Precautions are utilized not only to prevent the spread of disease but also to protect the artist themselves. Notwithstanding the above, it may be wise to disclose your medical conditions to your tattoo artist in case, for example, medication you are prescribed causes your skin to by hyper-sensitive.

I hope this helps!

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