Tattooing and HCV: A study that is actually useful


Although I can only access the abstract, this study in Hepatology (1/13) was reported by Fox News and other news outlets.  The researchers excluded IDUs and those who had blood-transfusions (pre-1992).  The CDC writes,”Fritz Francois, MD, a researcher from New York University Langone Medical Center, reports that people with hepatitis C are four times more likely to have tattoos, regardless of other risk factors.”

Association of tattooing and hepatitis C virus infection: A multicenter case-control study   

“…Although injection drug use (IDU) and blood transfusions prior to 1992 are well-accepted risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, many prior studies that have evaluated tattooing as a risk factor for HCV infection did not control for a history of IDU or transfusion prior to 1992. In this large, multicenter case-control study we analyzed demographic and HCV risk factor exposure history data from 3,871 patients, including 1,930 with chronic HCV infection (HCV RNA positive) and 1,941 HCV negative (HCV antibody negative) controls…

Conclusion: Tattooing is associated with HCV infection, even among those without traditional HCV risk factors such as injection drug use and blood transfusion prior to 1992.”

Thank you Dr. Francois.  You proved that there is a significant relationship between tattooing and HCV without complicating the issue with  some other known risk factors, therefore ending the “controversy” about this important route of transmission.

This study will help veterans with HCV–who received tattoos in service but never were IDUs or received transfusions–when they deal with the VA.  HCVets recommends (older post) that you get stamped copies of studies you use from a librarian so they aren’t labeled Internet junk. 

Information and images like this one from the FDA may convince the young people we care about to “Think Before They Ink.”

Why Tattoo Inks Go Bad - (JPG 02v2)

Tattoo infected with a nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) bacteria.
Not so cute now…
Source: FDA

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5 Responses to Tattooing and HCV: A study that is actually useful

  1. RobertG says:

    My caption on the jet gun picture was “DOD approved sleeper assassin-see you in 30 years”! I also included the fast letters with both jet gun wins from the old site. So who are you? You opine here much but give no info about yourself. I already know you are a liberal and hate that man glen beck. Are you HCV+ and a vet as well?

    • Kiedove says:

      Robert, I’m the wife of a Vietnam veteran (Marine Corps) whose husband has been SVR from HCV for 9 years–but is still having adverse side effects from the PEGINF/RIBA treatment. I’m coming up short looking for long-term research papers on this subject.

      Re: Glen Beck. I think you’ve got me mixed up with someone else because I’ve never commented on him or other talking heads on TV on Asknod! I consider myself an independent. When given a choice, I vote for people who believe, as I do, that the right to life is a fundamental human right and who I think are qualified for the job they seek my vote for. Over-arching political labels aren’t helpful because, depending on the issue, many of us could be called a conservative, liberal, libertarian, progressive, etc…

      • RobertG says:

        I suffer in the same manner as your husband. I have been asking for help from my VAMC for many years. I believe I injected myself at least 70+ times with this FDA approved poison. My life has been destroyed in so many ways. I complain to my social worker, primary care doctor, psychiatrist, chaplain, about my moods, mental health and flashbacks of the IFN side effects. After 11 years of complaining there is no answer or paper that describes my symptoms or etiology as I live it. I am considered a whiner and complainer and I get just another Rx or +/- of meds I already take. I am housebound and very antisocial and cannot tolerate crowds or driving a car. I live alone as I understand what is wrong with me. I will not impose myself on anyone as I cannot stand myself most of the time. What keeps me alive is my belief in God and training myself to live inside the inner man. My battle is solo and I refuse to lose. My fight with the vA is righteous and I have no doubts my military service is responsible for my HCV. I hope your husband gets better care than I do. I am one of the few who fell through the cracks and I am still alive to talk about it. I never ask for pity or special treatment. I have been treated spitefully by my govt and the vA as an institution. There are thousands out there worse off than me. As you can see I do not get along well with liberals or political correct thinkers. NOD has afforded me an opportunity here that is medicine to my soul. I say a prayer for every vet here who wins his case and endured the hardships of waiting. Semper Fi to your husband and thank him for his service…

  2. RobertG says:

    HCVets recommends (older post) that you get stamped copies of studies you use from a librarian so they aren’t labeled Internet junk. Am I to understand all “other studies-articles” I submit will be labeled internet junk and not included in my claims-appeals? Dr Cecil sent me 2 of his articles with my nexus letter. They were labeled(his hand writing) Exhibit #1 and #2. They were not stamped with a librarian stamp?. His argument was he agreed with these articles-studys and offered the vA to read regarding my claims. I have also sent the jet gun picture and other fast letter from hcvets.com…
    So am I screwed again about more credible proof-studys that the BVA will not consider in my appeals-CUE?

    • Kiedove says:

      Robert, let’s see what we can find out. I’ve seen a lot of decision with this label, unless a doctor/examiner is submitting or citing the research. The jet gun picture showing the nozzle is a CDC photo so it’s good!!!

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