Tattoos & Hepatitis | Tattoos & The Risk of STDs
Date: December 15th, 2017
Everyone knows what a tattoo is, but many aren’t familiar with how a tattoo actually works. When you get a tattoo, the ink is inserted under the dermis using a needle. This results in a change in the skin pigment and can be used to create almost any type of image.
While tattoo and other body piercing art have grown in popularity, they are associated with several health risks. In this article, we will discuss tattoos and hepatitis are related, as well as how you can reduce the risk of STD infections.
The Connection Between Tattoos, Hepatitis, and Infections
One study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association had reported an outbreak of infections related to tattoo in four states - Washington, Colorado, New York, and Iowa. The infections involved Mycobacterium bacteria that cause tuberculosis and leprosy in humans.
Another health risk associated with tattoos is the transmission of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is an STD. The Hepatitis C virus causes serious liver damage, and can be spread through intercourse, as well as contact with contaminated needles, toothbrushes, razors, and syringes. While there are many different types of Hep C, they can be split into two categories including:
- Acute HCV infection: Acute HCV infection develops about six months after being exposed to the virus. If the acute HCV infection is not treated, it leads to chronic HCV infection.
- Chronic HCV infection: Chronic HCV infection is a long-term illness. It can lead to severe damage to the liver, including liver cancer and cirrhosis.
When it comes to tattoos and hepatitis, you should be exceedingly careful with unsterilized tattooing equipment. While it is not yet clear how many people get the virus through tattooing, one study concluded that people who get a tattoo are four times more likely to contract HCV.
How Can You Prevent STD Infections from Spreading?
There are a number of steps to prevent the spread of STDs including sterilization, early detection, and proper treatment. Hepatitis C testing is the easiest way to ensure early detection, while contacting your doctor can ensure you get proper treatment.
If you plan on getting a tattoo, make sure you stay safe by insisting on sterile or brand new equipment. Since most people get Hep C by sharing infected needles, you may want to submit to Hepatitis C testing 4-10 weeks after your tattoo.
Treating Hepatitis From Tattoos
Previously HCV was not treatable. However, advancement in the medical science has resulted in higher success rates, shorter treatment times, and fewer side effects. You should contact a reliable medical professional for treatment of HCV and get a referral to a hepatologist who specializes in liver diseases.
Make sure that you get regular STD testing to increase the chances of early detection and effective treatment of the disease.