An Aberdeen man has welcomed new guidelines aimed at stopping people living with HIV being discriminated against by tattooists and beauticians.
Deejay Bullock was turned away from a tattoo parlour in Dundee after the artist refused to work with him because of his diagnosis.
The 38-year-old had hoped to treat himself to some body art for his birthday.
New guidelines from medical experts and voluntary sector organisations have now been issued, warning that refusing people living with HIV a tattoo, piercing or beauty treatment is illegal under the Equality Act 2010.
Mr Bullock, founder of LGBT+ charity Four Pillars and one of the organisers of the Grampian Pride event, was shocked when he was refused a tattoo this year.
After filling out a form at the parlour and confirming he had HIV, the tattoo artist refused to work with him, saying he wouldn’t put himself at risk.
He said: “I was completely honest on my form and said I had HIV and when the staff member looked at the form he turned to me and asked if I was joking.
“He said he wouldn’t risk himself or his family and started spouting all this out-of-date information.
“I just left as I really didn’t want to get into an argument with him.”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
The guidelines issued by various organisations, including HIV Scotland, the British HIV Association (BHIVA) and the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), explain that licensing requirements mean that clients are protected from HIV and other blood-borne viruses though using standard precautions.
Nathan Sparling, chief executive of HIV Scotland, said: “Too many people living with HIV have been discriminated against in tattoo studios, and the joint statement makes clear that it is illegal and shouldn’t happen in modern-day Scotland.
“Tattoo studios need to be aware that standard infection control procedures, such as sterilising equipment, are enough to prevent any transmission of blood-borne viruses.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We welcome this statement, which makes it clear that people living with HIV should have the same access as everyone else to tattooing and cosmetic treatments.
“There is no place for HIV stigma in today’s Scotland, and a diagnosis of HIV should not represent a barrier to living a full and enjoyable life.”