Can You Get HIV From a Tattoo?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on July 5, 2021
    Last Updated: July 6, 2021

There are lots of risks from getting a tattoo as you are inserting needles into your skin, which draws blood. However, the risk of getting HIV from tattoos is very low.

As with everything, you should thoroughly research and prepare before getting a tattoo. Check out the tattoo studio and the artist. Are they hygienic and professional?

Once you are aware of the risks involved this will give you the tools to make sure that you are safe from any infection.

We will share with you all that you need to know about the risks of getting HIV when having a tattoo and how you can minimize the chances to nearly zero.

What Are the Risks of Getting HIV From a Tattoo?

There are no known cases of anyone getting HIV from having a tattoo, however, that doesn’t mean that the risk is not there. 

It is possible to get HIV this way through an unsterilized needle or from contaminated ink that has been shared. 

The best way to reduce the risk is to make sure that the tattoo studio and the tattoo artist that you use are licensed and that they are hygienic in their procedures.

Can You Get HIV From Tattoos?

As with all procedures where a needle is used and the skin is broken, there is a risk of getting HIV when having a tattoo. However, the risk of this happening is very low and there are ways that you can make the procedure safer still.

How To Check if a Tattoo Studio Is Hygienic

When you are getting your first tattoo there are lots of questions that you should ask. You should always question the professionalism, licensing and hygiene standards of the tattoo studio and the tattoo artists working there.

Tattoo studios should always use disposable equipment when dealing with tattoos and blood. This equipment that should be thrown away after one use would be needles, razors, gloves and ointment.

All chairs, armrests, beds and wires should be covered and sterilized after every use to make sure that they are clean for the next customer. Disinfectant should be available at every station in the tattoo studio.

How It Could Be Transmitted

HIV can be transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids, such as blood and saliva. The tattoo process involves several needles piercing the skin and inserting ink into the dermis which is the second layer of skin. 

If this is done using a gun that hasn’t been disinfected or needles that aren’t disposable, there could be a possibility of infection. However, there are no known cases of this happening in the US.

How To Keep Yourself Safe

The tattoo studio and tattoo artist are responsible for your wellbeing while they are doing the tattoo. However, it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure that you are not at risk of catching any kind of infection. 

You should do your research and check out reviews or speak to friends that have used the tattoo studio. This will help you to understand the way that they work and just how safe they are.

Make sure that you have a proper consultation in the surroundings where the tattoo will be performed so you can see firsthand how they work and what equipment they use. 

Don’t ever be afraid of asking your tattoo artist questions to make sure that you understand exactly how the procedure will work and the safety precautions in place. You can also ask to see their license to make sure that it’s up to date.

Do I Need To Take a Test After Having a Tattoo?

If you have done your homework and have checked out the tattoo studio before having your tattoo, there should be no need to have a HIV test following your tattoo. However, if you rushed out to get a tattoo without thinking about it and doing your research, it would depend on what the conditions were. 

If the tattoo studio that you used is not the most hygienic and professional, it could be a different story. 

If equipment is not disposed of between uses or completely sterilized after use, it may be best to have a test following your tattoo. This will give you the peace of mind that you need. 


Studies show that it’s very unlikely that you would get HIV from getting a tattoo. However, you still need to be careful and check that the tattoo studio is doing everything that they can to make sure that you are safe. 

As long as everything is completed professionally and the equipment is cleaned and sterilized completely between uses there should be no problem. Your health and wellbeing are important and you should make sure that everything is as it should be.

We hope that this has answered your questions and you understand the risks involved in getting a tattoo. Now go out and get yourself inked!

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