Can You Get A Tattoo If You Have An STD?


Getting a desired art on your body should be fun and free of any headache. But while having a sexually transmitted disease, it’s okay to be concerned since you might bleed or injured while having a tattoo.

So, Can you get a tattoo if you have an STD? Is it safe for both you and your artist?

If you’re confusion is about infecting someone else, there’s nothing to worry if you can find an expert tattoo artist, use protective gear, and demand new equipment for getting the tattoo done. But if your concern is your health, it’s better not to get a tattoo (a new wound) while your immune system is already fighting with a disease.

This article will clear any confusion you have regarding the connections between tattoos and STDs. Keep reading to learn more.

What If I Get a Tattoo While I Have an STD?

There’s nothing to scare of because the chance of transmitting your disease to others is close to zero. But the statement is true only if you’re 100% confident about the factors below:

  • Your tattoo artist is an efficient and reputed person.
  • The cleanliness of the tattoo studio is at its peak.
  • The artist wears gloves and protective gear.
  • There are no such things as re-using tattoo equipment including needles in the studio.

This way, you can prevent the transmission of bloodborne pathogens that spread STDs. Still, it’s best to postpone your tattoo session if you’re having a sores outbreak.

Also, you have to take the healing period seriously. It’s a must to give your fresh tattoo around 3 weeks to completely heal before you remove the bandages.

However, these words are for you only when you’re concerned about the transmission of your disease. But what about your health? Does tattooing make your health condition worse when you’re fighting with an STD?

The fact is, tattoos take their toll on our body and each tattoo means a new wound. The wounds create an immune system response, for sure. Which means, your body sends out antibodies, white blood cells, and proteins to treat the wounds.

While your bodily ‘soldiers’ are already fighting with the pathogens of your STD, getting a new tattoo will make the process even harder. So, when you’re already fighting, it’s wise not to invite more troubles for your body to deal with.

However, if you feel that you are healthy enough, you can go for a tattoo but make sure your CD4 count is checked. Since you’re already having an STD, you know that the CD4 count below 200 is a serious illness. In such situation, it’s recommended to not having new wounds on your skin.

How Does STD Get Transmitted?

Sexually transmitted infections or diseases are transmitted by sexual contact. In most cases, the disease spread because of oral, anal, and vaginal sex. The parasites, bacteria, or viruses that are responsible for transmitting diseases can pass from one person to another through bodily fluids like semen or blood.

So, how all these facts are related to tattooing?

Although there’s zero risk of transmission as long as your intact skin is exposed to infected blood, the risk can get higher in absence of correct sterilization and sanitation.

All the tools including needles must be sterilized with each use. Otherwise, you can experience an infection passed on through infected blood. Still, the risk is different for individual diseases.

Researchers claim that the risk of having HIV after a needlestick exposure to HIV-infected blood is as less as 0.3%. Although the percentage is lower for HIV, it’s as high as 6-30% for hepatitis B.

Above all, shared needles, dirty equipment, and indifference of your tattoo artist can play a significant role in spreading the disease. Other than that, you’re good to go.

Is My Tattoo Artist At Risk?

Your tattoo artist is not at risk if you go to a professional and licensed studio.

It’s wise to do deep research on your tattoo artist and establishment before taking his sessions. In case, the artist gets affected, it’s his fault because he was unable to ensure the proper sterilization and sanitization. Make sure you explore the reviews of your tattoo artist to be sure about his efficiency. Also, check your state health department to know whether the artist has a professional license.

But if you are an artist and you’re concerned about your health after tattooing a person with STD, here are the symptoms of hepatitis B and C you’ll want to be aware of:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite

And, for HIV, these are the symptoms that appear in the first stage:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches

Don’t delay consulting a doctor if you face any of the situations above.

Used Needles: What Diseases They Might Spread?

Shared needles are responsible for transmitting bloodborne pathogens like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, and other STDs. When the needles get contact with the pathogens in a healthy person’s blood, the infection occures.

So, for how long does the pathogens live on a needle’s surface?

Well, it differs. For hepatitis B, the answer is up to a week. About HIV, it can live in used needles for even over a month. So, it’s a must to double check the equipment your tattoo artist uses for the job.

Some Other Tattoo Risks

So, you might get affected by bloodborne pathogens like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV if the tattooing tools are not sterilized. But are there other risk factors you should know about?

Well, yes. You might experience an allergic reaction to the tattoo ink. The reaction might occur as soon as immediately after getting a tattoo or a few weeks later. 

Here are some symptoms that you have an allergic reaction:

  • Deep lumps
  • Blisters
  • Redness and swelling
  • Fluid leaking from the affected area
  • Itchiness

If you don’t consult a doctor right after facing the situations above, here’s what you can experience if the infection becomes more severe:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Shaking
  • Chills

Don’t delay if you face any of the symptoms, seek for expert’s opinion as soon as you can.

What If I Accidently Poked a Used Needle?

Well, that’s a situation you must take care of. Go through the steps below immediately:

  • Use soap and water to clean the wound
  • Washing away any splashes is a must. For this, flush your mouth, nose, and eyes with clean water.
  • Consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Ask your doctor to determine your risk of infection. The doctor will administer necessary treatments like immunization shots for diseases like HIV, post-exposure prophylaxis, or hepatitis B. Taking an STD test will be a wise idea in this case.

A Few Tips to Make Your Tattooing Journey Safer If You Have an STD

  • Make sure the gloves your artist uses don’t have pinhole tears before tattooing.
  • Request your tattoo artist to use clean tissues to open an ink bottle.
  • Go for a liscenced tattoo studio with a highly expert trainer who knows how to tattoo people with STDs.
  • Be 100% sure that your artist use a fresh, sterile needle for the session.


Can I remove my tattoo if I have herps?

Yes, you can remove your tattoo anytime. Nevertheless, you must inform your tattoo artist about your disease. Sometimes, extra precautions are needed if you have sores outbreak. Although STDs are somehow connected to tattoos, it’s completely controllable if your artist know the right way.

Is it okay to tattoo someone with an STD?

Yes, as long as you keep proper protection for you and your client, there’s nothing wrong. Make sure you work in a clean place, use sterilize needles, and use latex gloves. Throw away the used equipment as long as you’re done with tattooing and forget about the session.


Now, you should have a clear answer to ‘can you get a tattoo if you have an STD?’ this question.

It’s okay to get a tattoo while dealing with a sexually transmitted disease if you’re in a good health. Be careful about choosing the right tattoo studio and artist so there’s no risk of transmitting your disease, and that’s enough.

Take care fighter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *