Calgary

Tattoo clients urged to get tested if they got inked at illegal Red Deer home studio

Alberta Health Services is advising people who were tattooed at an illegal home operation in Red Deer that they should be tested for viruses that can be spread through unsanitary tattoo equipment. 

'Individuals who received tattoos through this operation may have been exposed to viruses'

An artist uses a stick-and-poke needle to give a tattoo at a licensed studio. AHS is warning anyone who got tattooed at an unlicensed home shop in Red Deer, Alta., to get tested for viruses like HIV. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Alberta Health Services is advising people who were tattooed at an illegal home operation in Red Deer that they should be tested for viruses that can be spread through unsanitary tattoo equipment. 

AHS said in a release Tuesday that it was tipped off by the public that an illegal home tattoo parlour called Tattoos by Aimee and Jenny was operating until February of this year.

It was located at 22 Hanna Street.

"Proper sterilization or sanitation processes cannot be confirmed, meaning individuals who received tattoos through this operation may have been exposed to viruses including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV,"  Dr. Ifeoma Achebe, the medical officer of health for AHS' central zone, said in a release.

Anyone who received tattoos at that home, or from Aimee Eagle or Jenny Hougestol is being asked to call AHS at 403-356-6366 or their doctor to arrange to be tested for viruses.

"To prevent the spread of infection from one person to another, equipment used in tattooing must be cleaned, disinfected and sterilized according to health standards. It is the responsibility of all tattoo facility operators — whether residential or otherwise — to ensure all regulations are met and operations are compliant," said Achebe.

AHS has ordered the two tattoo artists to:

  • Stop giving tattoos until inspected and approved by AHS.
  • Give AHS a timeframe of when tattooing services were being provided.
  • Provide a list of all tattoo clients, including their names and contact information.

AHS said in its order that further conditions might be required.

The agency also reminded Albertans that they should confirm a tattoo operation is licensed and has been inspected before getting inked, by either asking the tattoo artist or piercing technician for their latest health inspection report or by calling Alberta Health Services.

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