Tattooing poses HCV risk — 1 Comment

  1. The above report came as a surprise to me since the Centers for Disease Control has stated that no major studies have reported that hepatitis C is spread through licensed, commercial tattooing facilities. But after digging into the actual journal article the news story doesn’t tell the entire story.

    The above study shows an association between tattooing and HCV, but it doesn’t prove that HCV is spread by tattooing. This is an important distinction. We know that HCV infection is spread by the blood to blood route so it can be passed via HCV-contaminated tattoo tools or equipment that is not properly sterilized with an autoclave or by tattoo ink that is re-used. Also, the date that people received the tattoo wasn’t listed—it may have been before the implementation blood-borne pathogen protection; therefore any type of practice that involved blood could be a route of infection. Another important distinction is that this was a self-disclosure study and people may not have wanted to disclose how they contracted HCV even if they knew that the questionnaire was anonymous. I will be reading the journal article in more detail and I will write up an extensive review of it in the March HCV Advocate. Stay tuned.

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