January / December #19 : Tattoo Hullabaloo - by Walter Armstrong and Faye Penn

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Table of Contents

Cheese and Crackers

Blood from a Stone

A World Drenched in Blood

The Bride Wore White

Life After Ryan

Dream Team

Unmasked Avenger



Special Delivery

Tattoo Hullabaloo

Dirty Sticks, Dirty Tricks

Best Little U.S. AIDS Hospital

Blow It Dry

Desert Flora Has Anti-HIV Aura

DOT's the Limit

Murder by Member

Milk and Money

Stoned in a Park

By Any Peer Necessary


Dubin's List

Blood Money


If the Birds Come

POZ Picks-December 1996/January 1997

Home of the Brave

POZ Biz-December 1996/January 1997

Tribute-December 1996/January 1997

Patrick Webb's Adventures With Punchinello

Cremation Sensation

Sexual Healing

A Holistic Holiday How-To

Wisdom Out of Africa

And Nary a Drop to Drink

Adding in the Health Factor

Hitting Herpes Hard

Q Tip

Managed Care Joins Death and Taxes

Play Your Cards Right

Raising Hormones

Deadly Cocktails

In the Den

The Dating Game

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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January / December 1997

Tattoo Hullabaloo

by Walter Armstrong and Faye Penn

Ohio says tattoo people with HIV

Tattoos are a recurring motif in the epidemic, from right-wing calls for inking buttocks to in-your-face "HIV+" IDs by those who have the virus. Now the owner of an Ohio tattoo shop has been ordered to tattoo an HIV positive man after an artist there refused to do so two and a half years ago.

In April 1994, H. Edward Dobbins filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission after an employee of 8-Ball Tattoos in Columbus turned down his request for a tattoo when Dobbins disclosed on a routine questionnaire that he is positive.

During the subsequent investigation, shop-owner Adam Gray claimed tattoo artists-who were latex gloves and eye goggles as they inject ink into a customer's skin with surgical-steel needles-are subject to an undue HIV risk from accidental needle sticks. However, the chance of transmission is only three to five for every 1,000 sticks with an infected needle, according to studies presented at the hearings. There have been no documented cases of HIV transmission through tattooing.

The commission found on August 29 that the artist's refusal to tattoo Dobbins violated a state law prohibiting discrimination based on handicap in a place of public accomodation.

Gray's employees must now tattoo any HIV positive person who enters the shop. But an "exasperated" Gray, who said he has spent $45,000 in legal fees, suggested that Dobbins would do well to patronize another shop at this point. "Can they legally require me to do a good job? Can they require me not to make it hurt?" Gray asked. "If I tattooed this guy's chest today, it'd be coming out his back."

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