Hepatitis C, Piercings, and Tattoos

Expressing oneself can be a valid part of the maturation process. Not only do teens need to find ways to let the world know who and what they are, but as an adult searching for ways to show how you feel is important as well. There are numerous ways to do this self-expression, some write or draw.

Others feel tattoos and body piercing are a viable method of self-expression. Piercing has certainly changed in the last twenty years, a time when it was only common for a woman to have her ears pierced. Nowadays piercing just about any place on your body, once or many times, is not uncommon, and instead of having a woman's ears pierced with one hole in each ear, women, and men, may have multiple piercings on a single ear.

In the not so distant past, tattoos were something only the rough crowd had. Ex-cons showed off their prison tattoos with pride. But now anyone you pass on the street could have a tattoo. From a simple tiny rose on a spot always hidden beneath a woman's clothing, to armbands, full sleeves or on some people, most of their bodies, you will see it all.

Whether you're talking about tattoos or body piercings, there is one thing they have in common other than self-expression. That is that they put you at higher risk of contracting the Hepatitis C virus. It is how they are done that really makes the difference between risk levels. For example, it's not a good idea to do them on your own or have a friend do them.

Prisons are probably one of the worst situations in which a tattoo or piercing can be done. That is because the Hepatitis C virus is spread by the passing of blood to blood and if the needles used for piercing or tattooing have been used before, and remain unsterile, they can pass this very infectious disease. In fact, the incidence of Hepatitis C virus infection in prisons in general is higher than the general population.

If you want a tattoo or body piercing, pick a reputable shop that looks clean, and check them out before you get the work done. Make sure that they use sterile needles from an unopened package.

You will also want the tattoo artist or piercer to wear gloves while they are working on you. This is just added protection for fear that they have open cuts that could spread any disease. When getting a tattoo you will also want clean inkpots to be used. Anything that can be done to protect you from the risk of the Hepatitis C infection is more than worth your while.