21st February 2019

HIV Scotland has called on council leaders to take action against discriminatory practices in tattoo studios. A letter was sent to leaders of local authorities outlining:

  • Cases of discrimination against people living with HIV
  • There has never been a documented case of HIV being transmitted due to tattooing
  • Reviews of local licences would help prevent this discrimination

Nathan Sparling, CEO of HIV Scotland, said: “We’re calling on local authority leaders to take action to stop what has become wide-spread discrimination against people living with HIV in tattoo studios. Since issuing a simple call for people living with HIV to tell us their experiences of tattoo studios, we were shocked at the level of blatant discrimination solely on the basis of HIV status.

“This discrimination fuels the stigma, myths, and misconceptions about HIV, and must be weeded out if we’re to truly reach zero new HIV transmissions. As Scotland’s HIV charity we want people living with HIV to know that this discrimination is unlawful, unethical, and unnecessary, and we will advocate on behalf of individuals that have faced such discrimination to ensure that this never happens again.

“It’s always important to recognise that people living with HIV on effective treatment do not pass HIV on to their sexual partners. In the case of tattoo studios, their standard infection controls - single-use needles and sterilised equipment – are enough to negate any risk of HIV transmission.

“We want council leaders to commit to reviewing licences and ensuring that where discrimination happens, appropriate action will be taken.”