040: #askalexandra Can My Tattoo Artist Contract Herpes From Giving Me A Tattoo?

Ask Answer & Get The Facts About Herpes

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Life With Herpes Podcast


Welcome to episode 40 of Life With Herpes. This is another #AskAlexandra show, I love love hearing from you for these shows! None of these episodes are possible without you so please join in the fun and send me your question. You can join our Slack group or go to the Life With Herpes home page. On the home page look for the #AskAlexandra button at the bottom and click it. You'll be taken to a form where you can fill out question and send it to me.


Today's question comes from Tammy in Toledo, Ohio. She is obsessed with tattoos! And she wants to know if she has to disclose her HSV status to her artist if and when she gets ink?


Join me to hear the answer to Tammy's awesome question on episode 40 of Life With Herpes.

More About Life With Herpes


First of all, high five and kudos to you for considering other people Tammy. Thank you! The short and sweet answer is no you do not have to disclose your status when getting a tattoo.


Personally I don't have any tattoos but I did go with a friend who got one when we were in high school. I remember they asked if she had HIV/AIDS, or hepatitis. Those are two life-threatening viral diseases that are transmitted by blood.


Herpes is not transmitted by blood, it is skin to skin transmitted. So I do not believe they are going to ask you if you have herpes, but if they do then of course you would say yes.


If you go into a tattoo parlor you’ll notice the artist does wear gloves for protection (both for themselves and for you). If they are not wearing gloves you should run! It is not a place where you want to get inked.


Tweetable:  “Be truthful in all of your answers.”-  Alexandra Harbushka




When you do arrive to get your tattoo, they are going to ask you to fill out a questionnaire. Be truthful on all of your answers, including if they ask you whether or not you have herpes.


But if they don't ask you I don't see any reason you have to tell them, unless you have an outbreak in an area where you are getting the tattoo. If you are getting inked on your back but you've never had an outbreak in that area you don't have to disclose your herpes status (unless they ask).


The only other thing that may be important is medication you are on, this may be important as far as bleeding and allergic reactions. If you are concerned about this be sure to tell them what medications you are on, like any anti-virals you are taking.


But as far as your overall status of having herpes, I don't think it means someone won't work on any new or existing tattoos. So don't worry unless they ask and as long as the person giving you your ink is wearing gloves.


I'm glad you asked this Tammy, I'm sure it's something people are concerned about so it was a great question to send in, and to answer. Again, thank you for your question and for joining me on episode 40 of Life With Herpes.

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Roxanna Meyer

Hi, thanks for discussing your ideas.
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Glad this helped you. Let me know if I can answer any additional questions.
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