Can You Get HIV From Tattoo?

It’s impressive that you’re super concerned about your health before getting a tattoo. It’s wise to be aware of the risks and dangers that are included with tattooing process. So, what about the spread of bloodbrone pathogens like HIV? Can you get HIV from tattoo?

The answer is somewhere between yes and no. You won’t get HIV from a tattoo unless you share a tattoo needle with a HIV positive person. So, to get affected, you need a HIV patient in a dirty, unprofessional tattoo studio where the equipment are shared, unclean, and overall hygiene is not maintained at all.

Other than that, there’s nothing to worry about it. If you can reach a professional artist who keeps hygiene in the top of his/her priority list, you won’t get HIV from a tattoo.

Keep reading to know more facts like how high the risk is, whether you should take a HIV test after getting a tattoo, and everything you might ask about HIV & tattoo. Let’s get started!

Can You Get HIV From Tattoo?

Can You Get HIV From Tattoo or Body Piercing?

There’s no such record in USA about getting HIV from tattooing or piercing , but the chance of such happening is not zero. Yes, there are sisks of transmitting HIV through tattoo needles if your artist reuse or do not sterilize the needle.

HIV is a bloodbrone pathogen that transmits between people through bodily fluids like blood. For this, it’s possible to get affected from tattoing if any of the tattooing equipment is used for the treatment that has someone else’s blood in it.

Also, the pathogen can be transmitted through ink if it’s shared. Although the risk is low in general, if the ink or any equipment is contaminated with blood having HIV, the chance is higher that the virus will pass into your blood stream.

Therefore, you must avoid tattoo studios where single-use equipment and proper sterilization techniques aren’t available.

How High Is The Risk of Getting HIV From a Tattoo?

You already know that there are risks of HIV transmition trhough the needles used for tattooing. But there are more to know. The risk level of having HIV from a tattoo is lower compared to other needlestick injuries because tattoo needles are different from a syringe.

A syringe is filled with the liquid and it’s injected into your body. But the tattoo needle is just dipped into ink, meaning the ink remains on the exterior. For this, the ink gets exposed to the air. And, the artist pushes the ink into your dermis using the needle.

You might ask, why does it matter?

It matters because the fact reduces the duration of HIV staying active. HIV is mostly inactive only a couple of hours after getting exposed to the air. You can get affected from the infected person if only he has an extremely high viral load or the equipment is incredibly contaminated.

Other STDs also do not last long outside our body. For instance, bacteria that’s responsible for syphilis die within a few minutes outside our body.

So, if we sum up the ways how the transmission could occur, these points are the facts.

  • The risk is only when there’s a lot of virus in the infected person’s blood.
  • If the equipment is infected.
  • If the person bleeds extremely on the equipment.
  • In case, blood from a contaminated person transmits to another customer’s body in enough quantities for the infection to occur.

However, other bloodbrone pathogens like Hepatitis B and C can easy transmit if the artist do not follow the right procedure. Unfortunately, both of these threatening virus can live outside human body for as long as 7 weeks.

Should I Take a HIV Test After Getting a Tattoo?

It’s a good idea to take a test especially if you feel like the tattoo artist and the overall studio was not professional enough. A professional tattoo studio should have strong hygiene checks and all the responsible staff regarding safety ensurance.

There are unproffesional tattoo stations that pay the slightest attention to hygiene. You’ll notice no sign of cleanliness in the machinces, glovles, needls, and other equipment that are used for tattooing.

If you’ve got a tattoo from a such a place, it’s best to take a test as soon as possible.

Can I Get Tattoo with HIV? Are There Any Risks for The Artist?

Now, let’s talk about if you’re already HIV positive then what. Can you get a tattoo even if you’re HIV positive?

Of course, you can. There’s no such limitation that you can’t get inked if you’re HIV positive. But you must choose an expert artist and an overall professional tattoo studio where cleanliness is at its peak, no equipment is reused, and the artist is 100% aware of hygiene protocol.

And, remember that communication is key here. If you’re a HIV sufferer and want to get tattooed, make sure you’re transparent with your artist about the fact. If your artist knows your situation, he can complete the session leaving zero risk (if he’s an expert).

However, some artists (we know about some in the UK) and tattoo sudios have policies against tatttoed people for the sake of the risk of bloodbrone diseases, but it’s not legal. In case, you’re a victim of the situation, feel free to file a report against them and look for a different artist.

Above all, there’s nothing to feel hesitate if you’re HIV positive and interested in getting a tattoo. There’s zero reason to treat a HIV positive differently to any other person who wants a tattoo.

But what if you’re more concerned about the tattoo artist? Is there any risk for your artist  to get infected?

No, the risk is close to zero for the artist if s/he follows proper hygiene and safety procedures. Tattoo studios that have licence should already be using sterilization steps. The artist must wear single-use gloves while tattooing so there’s no direct contact with the client’s blood.

How to Select The Right Tattoo Studio

You’ve already got a clear idea about HIV and tattooing. Here are a few tips to help you check if a tattoo studio is good for you.

  • Check out the sturio; does it have mandatory hand-gloves? Is the place neat and clean?
  •  Is every wire and other equipment of the studio is wrapped?
  • Explore different artists and make sure you go to one who’s expert in this industry. The lack of professionalism in your artist will lead you get poor result and increased risks of getting infections.
  • Make sure the artist uses ‘everything new’; new ink pots, new needles, and new tattooing stencils.
  • Ask questions to your arists without hesitation. A professional and well-mannered artist will be comfortable answering anything related to his workstation. Ask questions about his experience, see his portfolio if possible.
  • It’s wise to look for Health Board Inspection Certificate so you start the session without any doubt.
  • If you’d like to get piercing along with a tattoo, try to avoid to be pierced with a piercing gun. Because piercing guns are made of plastic and can’t be properly sterilized.


Are you still there? Take love if you are! We’ve tried our best to answer every related question that comes with ‘can you get HIV from tattoo?’.

Now, you know that it’s not obvious that you’ll get infected but there are risks. But if you can make sure that you’re getting the treatment from somewhere clean and safe, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Take advantage of the small tips and tricks we shared here, you won’t regret it.

Have a great day!

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