Mumbai: A week after 14 people were infected with HIV after using a single needle for tattooing in Uttar Pradesh, city doctors have warned all tattoo lovers to check whether a new ink and a new needle have been taken for making the tattoo as it can lead to several infections, especially HIV and blood infections. Doctors said there have been cases of hepatitis C infection through the ink used for tattooing.
Dr Madhukar Gaikwad, head, medicine department said, there was a stir in Varanasi when some people were infected with HIV where a single needle was used for tattooing. If a person going to be tattooed is infected with any disease, the infected element can get into the ink through the saliva. So, while removing the tattoo, it should be removed by an expert.
“There are a large number of tattoo removal salons in all the cities. There is a huge craze for tattoos, especially among college-going youth and those working in the film industry,” he said.
A senior doctor from the state and the civic-run hospital said that unsafe injection practices such as reuse, incorrect disposal and poor sterilisation of syringes are increasingly contributing to Hepatitis-C infection. The disease, which does not have a vaccine and spreads mainly through unsafe blood transfusions and needles, can be completely cured if detected at an early stage. But prolonged neglect may lead to liver cirrhosis and even cancer.
Hepatitis-C (HCV) is 10 times more infectious than HIV. It is asymptomatic, which means it does not exhibit any obvious symptoms of sickness in its initial stages. It can be be easily diagnosed with a blood test and treated.
Health experts said that this underscored the need for tattoo lovers to be vigilant and be aware of safe injection practices like the use of sterile, single-use or preventing reuse of syringes.
“The irony is that Hepatitis-B has a vaccine, but no cure, while hepatitis C has no vaccine, it does have a cure. Laid down WHO safe injection protocols should be followed by healthcare practitioners. Staff should wash their hands before administering injections, and they should clean the area of the injection adequately,” said a doctor.