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Health Department warns: Anyone who has received a tattoo or body piercing from unlicensed facilities in the area should be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C

MASON CITY – After recent reports and complaints regarding unlicensed tattoo artists in the area, public health officials remind residents to only get tattoos and body piercings from licensed professionals. Licensed businesses and artists should have their permits clearly displayed. If they are not easily visible, ask to the see them.

Anyone who has received a tattoo or body piercing from an unlicensed artist should contact their health care provider to be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C. Unlicensed artists are people who do tattoos in an unlicensed facility such as a home, garage, etc.

CG Public Health conducts inspections on tattoo establishments for Cerro Gordo County. Inspections are conducted to protect the public from diseases that may be transmitted from one person to another through unsanitary or unsafe tattooing and body piercing practices.

If instruments contaminated with blood are not sterilized or are used inappropriately between clients, there is a risk of transmitting blood borne pathogens such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C.

If you are considering getting a tattoo, contact CG Public Health to ensure you go to a licensed facility. They can provide you with information about Iowa facilities, as well as facilities in other states.

For information on tattoo and body piercing safety, call Mark Mathre, Environmental Health Specialist at the Cerro Gordo Department of Public Health, 421-9300 or visit our web site at

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