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Hep C Liked to Ink

Well we already knew this but for new people who come and ask at least there is some sort of answer in the news now.

Hepatitis C linked to ink
By Kathryn Doyle, Reuters
Jan. 24, 2013 11:23AM PST Jan. 24, 2013 11:23AM PST

Explore and compare medications NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Researchers are hoping that people will do some research about where to get a tattoo, after a study found a link between body art and hepatitis C.

The new study found that people with the virus were almost four times more likely to report having a tattoo, even when other major risk factors were taken into account, co-author Dr. Fritz Francois of New York University Langone Medical Center told Reuters Health.

Although the study could not prove a direct cause and effect, "Tattooing in and of itself may pose a risk for this disease that can lay dormant for many, many years," Francois said.

About 3.2 million people in the U.S. have hepatitis C, and many don't know because they don't feel ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and most common reason for liver transplants in the U.S. Some 70 percent of people infected will develop chronic liver disease, and up to 5 percent will die from cirrhosis or liver cancer.

For the current study, researchers asked almost 2,000 people about their tattoos and hepatitis status, among other questions, at outpatient clinics at three New York area hospitals between 2004 and 2006.

Researchers found that 34 percent of people with hepatitis C had a tattoo, compared to 12 percent of people without the infection.

The most common routes of contracting hepatitis C, a blood-borne disease, are through a blood transfusion before 1992 or a history of injected drug use. Injected drug use accounts for 60 percent of new hepatitis cases every year, but 20 percent of cases have no history of injected drug use or other exposure, according to the CDC.

Francois and his colleagues only included people with hepatitis C who did not contract it from these two other common sources.

After accounting for other risk factors, the difference between people with and without hepatitis was even greater, with four times as many tattoos in the infected group than for uninfected people, according to results published in the journal Hepatology.

"This is not a big surprise to me," Dr. John Levey, clinical chief of gastroenterology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, told Reuters Health. Earlier studies had found a link, but they were small and had not taken other risk factors into account as well as this new one did.

"This was one of the stragglers, and now we finally have some numbers for it," said Levey, who was not involved in the study.

Still, the CDC's Dr. Scott Holmberg said the link may not be quite as strong as the findings suggest, because some people who had used illegal drugs probably would not admit it, even on an anonymous questionnaire. And the researchers didn't rule out people who contracted hepatitis before getting their tattoo.


Holmberg, of the CDC's viral hepatitis division, recommends people only have tattoos or piercings done by trained professionals.

"In the U.S., there have been no reports of hepatitis C outbreaks linked to professional tattoo parlors," told Reuters Health by email.

In 2012, 1 in 5 people reported having at least 1 tattoo, according to a Harris poll.

"There are very reputable places that use appropriate standards," said Francois. Tattoo parlors are not federally regulated, and standards vary by state and region, so it's up to the consumer to do their homework, he said.

The Alliance for Professional Tattooists recommend finding a tattoo artist who wears disposable gloves, a clean work space without blood spatters and single-use disposable needle kits.

Levey said he wouldn't prevent his two adult daughters from getting tattoos, but he would make sure they were aware of the hepatitis C risk first.

"A lot of their friends have tattoos, it's the cool thing to do," he said. "They're adults, they can make their own decisions. But I'd mention this to them, because the long-term consequences of hepatitis C are so serious."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/UQ0lCA Hepatology, online January 12, 2013.

9 Responses
446474 tn?1446351282
'Just say no to ink'!
'Think! before you ink'.

179856 tn?1333550962
HA that is great H!  ♥

My kids keep getting more and more tattooes and just wont listen to me. Well they are young - they know it all and will live forever...I used to think the same way too!

Love ya!
3230925 tn?1397619565
  Thanx for that post NY.

Hector u da bomb :)
Avatar universal
     It never seizes to amaze me, that  so many, many
people are so brave, about getting tattoos.
    Here in The Bay Area, I see people with whole sleeves of tats, all the time, thousands and thousands of dollars worth of ink-art on their skin.
    No matter how sterile the parlor is, mistakes can be made, because to err, is human.
   Long before I ever used I.V drugs (age 27), a friend of mine made a home-made tattoo gun, and gave me a little heart tattoo on my hip. Then he used it on himself ( he had used a guitar string for the needle)  This guys' dad is a Doctor, and I remember him getting scared, thinking about HIV risk, and scrubbing out his skin with bleach, etc., once he remembered that risk. We were both drunk.
    I was also thinking back to the fact that I had some invasive surgeries, as a teen, which could have given my Hep c then, so I thought I'd be responsible, and let this friend know that he might want to get tested for Hep C, since he went after me, with the tattoo gun.
   He is my friend on Facebook, so I messaged him, and told him I had just been treated for Hep C, and since we had shared the Tattoo gun, perhaps he should get himself tested. I also mentioned that the CDC has recommended that all us Baby-Boomers get tested anyhoo~
    His response was kind of strange, he became defensive, and said it was a brand new gun, so he didn't think he had given me Hep C (which I had never implyed at all). His response also made me think back...did he test that home-made gun on himself, before he gave me my tattoo? I couldn't remember... but I know he had just gotten back from being a Marine, and I know  alot of people in the Military, that seem to have gotten it, and wondered if they were still doing those auto-jet innoculations on everybody, one after the other, with the same needle, back in 1980.
    I didn't want to be rude, and ask him if he had Hep C or anything, but
he never said, "oh, okay, I better get tested, thanks for warning me", so that was another thing that made me wonder if he had it already~
1815939 tn?1377995399
"and wondered if they were still doing those auto-jet innoculations on everybody, one after the other, with the same needle, back in 1980. "

Just for clarification purposes, those jet air guns/injectors used for mass vaccinations had NO needles. Those injectors used high pressure to inject the Vaccine (but without needles). However, they could still spread contaminated blood from person to person.

" jet injectors were discontinued for mass vaccinations about five years ago because of possible health risks.

A jet injector uses high pressure to force a vaccine or other medication through a person's skin. Their speed made jet injectors very efficient, so many people could be vaccinated quickly. They were often used in the military. Although they weren't pain-free, jet injectors didn't involve needles. The result was less discomfort than a needle injection, and they caused less anxiety in people who were afraid of needles.

In some cases, however, jet injectors could bring blood or other body fluids to the surface of the skin while the vaccine was being administered. Those fluids could contaminate the injector, creating the possibility that viruses could be transmitted to another person being vaccinated with the same device."

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/health/article/Ask-the-Mayo-Clinic-Whatever-happened-to-jet-1293851.php#ixzz2J2ENUXt7
Avatar universal
Me and about 10 of my friends were getting tattooed at friends house at the kitchen table like 16-18 years ago , not the smartest thing to do
All of us have Hep C that were there
We all went and bought "clean sanitized tattoo needles "
But later in life my cousin started tattooing professionally and I learned a few things
Like the fact that we all had clean needles but the Kid never sanitized the stem that the needles ran through
Needless  to say this is where I contracted this disease .... Ah to be Young and STUPID
Avatar universal
  Thank you Pooh, for giving us that imfo,and the link, which I am about to go read~
   And to Hepwarrior, thank you for sharing your story. The stem was the contaiminator,  the ink flowed thru to the needle~
  I am guessing, that this could happen with primitive hand done tattoos, where two people are both dipping their own personal needle into a small bottle of Ink, as well.
  This is a common means of transmission, within the jail/prison systems, as well.
317787 tn?1473362051
I know what you mean.  I remember when I thought that my body was indestructible.  My son got some tatoos after I was diagnosed, I could not believe it!  I was in shock.  I don't think people are getting the message.
Thank you for the article.
317787 tn?1473362051
Thank you for sharing your story.  People think that just because the needles is sterile they can't get it.
Your story hit home for me, I fear for family members who have gotten tatoos.
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