Tattooing and piercing

Needles and instruments used for tattooing and piercing represent a certain amount of risk of transmission of sexually transmissible or blood-borne infection (STBBI) of hepatitis B and C viruses and HIV. If they aren’t new or sterilized, they are likely to contain contaminated blood.

You are running a risk when: You protect yourself when:
  • you get tattooed or pierced with a needle that isn’t new or hasn’t been sterilized.
  • you get tattooed or pierced in a safe situation, for example, by a professional in his shop;
  • it’s done using sterile equipment that will only be used for you.

Actual experiences

The personal testimonies have been inspired by real situations.

Home piercing

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A few nights ago, my girlfriend and I pierced our navels with a needle and ice cubes. My parents don’t know yet. I’ve had second thoughts; is it dangerous?

Re: Home piercing

There are risks in getting “home” piercings or tattoos. Among other things, there’s the risk of transmitting an STBBI if you and your girlfriend use the same equipment that hasn’t been sterilized. This equipment may have been in contact with blood.

For your own peace of mind, if you have taken risks, get in touch with Info-Santé 8-1-1. The nurse will tell you what steps to take to have a screening test done.

Getting help

To get a screening test

  • Call Info-Santé 8-1-1
  • Talk it over with the nurse in your school or CLSC
  • Talk it over with your doctor


For any
other question

Consult Tel-jeunes

Tel-Jeunes Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux