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Q. What is the chance of contracting HIV by tattooing with used needles?

Answered by
Dr. Jyotisterna Mittal
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 18, 2020 and last reviewed on: Mar 27, 2020

Hello doctor,

I made a tattoo almost six months back. Even at the time of receiving tattoo, the artist used multiple needles in which I saw changing few and missed some. I asked him about needle changing to which he said he did. My concern is what are the chances of contracting HIV in worst-case scenario that he did not change a few needles. Also till now I never had any fever or body pain or infection around the tattoo made.

Dr. Jyotisterna Mittal

Cosmetology Dermatology HIV/AIDS Specialist Venereology


Welcome to

Needle can transmit HIV only if the needle was freshly used in another person send the amount of blood collected in the needle is significant. This is because the HIV virus dies very quickly outside the body. In my opinion, the odds of transferring HIV infection in the above scenario are quite less as the chances of both these conditions are present together is very less.

It is a good point that you have not had any fever or other symptoms. Testing is being mentioned because we are talking about the worst-case scenario. In short, testing not needed ordinarily after tattooing, however, if you have much doubt about due precautions taken by the artist, you can go for it.

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Thank you doctor,

So there is nothing to worry about? Also, I never had any sort of fever or infection

Dr. Jyotisterna Mittal

Cosmetology Dermatology HIV/AIDS Specialist Venereology


Welcome back to

Yes, I do not think there is anything to worry about. However, no doctor can give you a 100% surety in medicine. For surety, you can get fourth-generation HIV ELISA (enzyme-linked immuno sorbent assay) test done from any reputed lab.

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