One of the major modern risks in getting tattoos is acquiring hepatitis C.

The association between tattoos and hepatitis is so high that many blood banks have refused blood donations from any individuals who have gotten a tattoo in the last year. This is done to avoid accepting blood with a high probability of a early dormant infection.

In a recently released article in the medical journal “Hepatology” the link between tattoos and hepatitis C was finally settled. For many years, the association between tattoos and hepatitis C was confounded by the thought that possibly intravenous drug use, sexual promiscuity, or blood transfusion has somehow played a part in a hepatitis C infection.  This large study done at multiple medical centers in New York and Baltimore finally confirmed the direct relationship, as the authors explain: “Tattooing is associated with HCV infection, even among those without traditional HCV risk factors such as injection drug use and blood transfusion prior to 1992.”

Hepatitis C is the most common blood born infection in the United States, and is the leading cause for liver transplantation. It’s annual attributed deaths is higher than HIV, yet between 50% and 75% of those infected are completely unaware.  All you need is one person infected at a tattoo party, and the hepatitis C epidemic not only continues, but grows.

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