Publications & Reports

Knowledge of and attitudes to infection control of tattooists at registered premises in Victoria, 1994.

Goudey RE, Thompson SC
Department of Human Services, Gippsland Region, Warragul, Vic. [email protected]


Historically, the relationship between health authorities and tattooists has been marked by suspicion and mutual distrust, with tattooists being stereotyped as having little concern for hygiene, and considered largely ineducable about infection control. In this study, a random sample of tattooists working at one-third of the 65 registered tattooing premises in Victoria completed a questionnaire that recorded demographic information and knowledge and attitudes to Standards of practice for tattooing 1990, which specifies guidelines for infection control in Victorian tattooing premises. Of these premises, 89 per cent participated and 36 of 37 tattooists working therein (22 metropolitan, 14 country) completed the questionnaire; 81 per cent were male. Reports by the tattooists indicated that: 50 per cent had not commenced immunisation for hepatitis B; that 78, 42 and 34 per cent either had not been tested or were unsure whether they had been tested for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); and that no tattooist was a hepatitis B carrier or was positive for hepatitis C or HIV. Respondents acknowledged the potential for transmission of infectious diseases through tattooing, endorsed formal training in tattooing and infection control for new tattooists, and supported continuing education in infection control for existing tattooists. Most were critical of environmental health officers, particularly for inaction in not closing and prosecuting unregistered tattooists. Despite deficiencies in the knowledge and training of tattooists in infection control, they recognise its importance and are willing to attend appropriate training.


  • Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
  • Published: 01/02/1997
  • Volume: 21
  • Issue: 1
  • Pagination: 17-22