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My Tattoo Experience This Weekend

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WindySkies:
So I finally decided to get a tattoo I have been thinking about since I first tested positive.  I finally decided that it was going to be something to give me complete acceptance of being HIV+, and that's what convinced me to do it.

So I emailed a few places asking if they had an issue with tattooing Someone who is HIV+, and didn't hear back from any of them.  I decided to walk in to a place and ask them in person.

I showed the guy what I wanted, he quoted me a price, and he started to draw it up and get his station ready.  I filled out the paperwork and one of the verification boxes was that I would agree to let them know of any infectious diseases before they began.

When he was ready I handed him the paperwork and told him about my HIV.  He paused and said that shouldn't be an issue and walked me back to his station.  He then changed out some of his tools to what I suspect were tools he wouldn't mind throwing away just incase.  What I did find strange is that he was ready to use these little wood cups for his ink, but instead switched to disposable plastic ones.  The strange part was that regardless of my HIV, using wood as something he is continually dipping his needle into seems completely unhealthy since wood is porous and can hold all sorts of stuff in it.  In that case I actually felt more safe with the plastic cups!

For the first 15 minutes or so he didn't say much but finally opened up to ask the meaning of the tattoo I was getting.  I told him and he said that he always asks because every tattoo has a story.  He asked me how I got HIV, and how long ago.  He then told me that he was completely terrified that 'tonight will be the night I finally mess up and poke myself'.  I told him I'm in very good health, and undetectable so his risk was extremely low.

He had no clue what undetectable meant so I explained it too him and he seemed amazed that there were tests that could do that sort of stuff.  He was also amazed to learn how effective the current drugs are today, as well as how expensive.  He is a diabetic and has a hard time paying for $40 worth of test strips per month, so I told him to try paying $60 a day for one pill!

He did admit that I was the first HIV+ person he had ever tattooed, so I corrected him and told him I was the first one that was honest, and knew about my HIV status that he had tattooed.  He then realized that the chances were pretty high he had already tattooed someone who was HIV+ and didn't know it, and then realized he was more at risk with them since they were untreated. 

After he was done I could sense that he was still trying to process everything but he did thank me for opening up his mind to a new way of thinking, and said if I wanted another tattoo in the future to give him a call, he'd be happy to work on me again.

The tattoo is healing just fine by the way!

leatherman:
great story! and great work you did as an educator/prevention specialist!

now where's the pix of this tat??  ;)

britchick:
WindySkies!

Cheers for your story and your honesty too re disclosure at the Tattoo parlour.I wanna see a pic too!!!!!!!!!!

Britchickx

Raf:
Congratz windy! This is one of the things I wanna do again someday...before my Dx, I was a total tattoo fan (I have both arms fully tattooed) but after that I didn't wanted to get one again.

Show a pic of the tattoo later, eh?

WindySkies:
I'm sure some people won't agree with my choice of design, but it means to me what I want it to mean:



It's on my right hip/pelvis area and is pretty much covered up by my swimsuit for the gym, and completely covered up by the normal underwear I wear.  I'm wearing that style for a few days to keep the tattoo from being covered.

And here it is pretty much covered up by my swimsuit:



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