A north-east council has backed a campaign to help stop people with HIV being discriminated against by tattooists and beauticians.
HIV Scotland had called for councils to issue a copy of new guidelines to all licence holders after Aberdeen man Deejay Bullock was turned away from a tattoo parlour because of his diagnosis.
Mr Bullock, 38, who is one of the organisers of Grampian Pride, spoke to the Evening Express about his experience at the business in Dundee.
Now Aberdeenshire Council has confirmed it will back the drive to raise awareness of the laws such industries must adhere to.
A spokesman for the local authority said: “We will be writing to all licensed operators to highlight the issue and to ask them to use the updated client consent form devised by the Scottish Skin Piercing and Tattooing Licensing Working Group.”
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New guidelines from medical experts and voluntary sector organisations were issued, warning that refusing people living with HIV a tattoo, piercing or beauty treatment is illegal under the Equality Act 2010.
Mr Bullock, who is also the founder of LGBT+ charity Four Pillars, 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“He said he wouldn’t risk himself or his family and started spouting all this out-of-date information.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.”
Commenting on the release of the new guidelines, the chief executive of HIV Scotland Nathan Sparling said: “Too many people living with HIV have been discriminated in tattoo studios, and today’s joint statement makes clear that it is illegal and shouldn’t happen in modern-day Scotland.
“Whilst HIV stigma continues to manifest across Scotland, we thwart progress for testing, treatment and prevention.
“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.
“This statement is also important as it clearly states that HIV, or the medication people take, will not be impacted by a tattoo – and that such procedures are safe for people living with HIV.
“We hope that this statement will ensure that people living with HIV can access tattoo studios without fear of being turned away. “Local councils should now issue this guidance to all license holders, and ensure that license holders are investigated properly if any future cases of discrimination are reported.”