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Can I Get Hepatitis C From a Tattoo or Piercing?

Can you get hepatitis C from a tattoo or piercing?

 
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Answer

Unlike some very clearly established risk factors for hepatitis C (like injectable drug abuse or having received a blood transfusion before 1992), the jury is still out on this one.
 
Studies generally suggest that tattoos done in a "professional" setting probably don't increase the risk, but getting a nonprofessional tattoo, such as in a prison or other unregulated setting, does appear to increase the risk. This makes sense, as you would expect professional tattoo artists and businesses to follow all the necessary protocols for infection-control practices, but nonprofessional settings may not have the knowledge, motivation, or resources to properly prevent transmitting hepatitis C.
 
Cases of hepatitis C transmission through piercing and even through swapping of body-piercing jewelry have been reported. However, just as with tattooing, the risks appear to be preventable if proper infection control measures are taken.
 
 
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