Can I get HIV infection from a tattoo machine?
Q: I am 23 years old. I recently got my name embedded on my arm permanently by a street tattoo maker. He used black ink and a locally made electric machine. Later my friend told me that this whole activity could be risky, as the machines used are local and not sterilised. Since this whole process involves a needle going inside my skin, I might be under a high risk of contracting some serious infection including HIV. Is this true? Can one contract HIV by a local tattoo-making machine? How do I get rid of my tattoo?
A:It is true that any unsterilised instrument or needle, etc. going into the body can transmit some infections such as hepatitis, HIV, etc. Though the risk is low, it is there. Please get an ELISA test for HIV done three months after the exposure to rest your mind to peace. Removal of the tattoo now will not help in any way. In future, please be careful about such practices.