Love of tattoos leaves man with Hepatitis C

(Photo for representation)

When 40-year-old Adarsh (name changed) went on a holiday to Goa and got himself inked, little did he know it would cost him later.

It was just another routine trip to the tattoo parlour for the Bengaluru techie. Adarsh had at least 11 tattoos already by then -- all from different tattoo artists.

On the fun trip to Goa, he decided to get the 12th tattoo done. As usual, a few months later, the whole affair was forgotten.

However, a recent routine medical check at his office showed tattooing indeed proved dear for Adarsh. He was tested positive for Hepatitis C.

When doctors attended to him at the Apollo Hospitals, it was known that he had no other risk factors.

“Usually, when patients come to us, we check if they have had a recent blood transfusion. We also check if their sexual partner has the disease. In his case, both were negative,” said consultant hepatologist Dr Sandeep Satsangi of Apollo.

“The patient had these tattoos done in a span of 10 years from different places. When we spoke to him, we understood that the tattoo artist in Goa had not disinfected the needles or ink. This could have infected Adarsh,” said Dr Satsangi.

Thankfully, he had it diagnosed in the early stages. “He even kept it from his family. There is a stigma associated with the disease. Though within three months, he was tested negative,” said Dr Satsangi. Later, when the wife was tested, as protocol mandates, she tested negative too.

Like most Hepatitis C patients, Adarsh had no symptoms. “About 80 to 85% have no symptoms at all. They accidentally discover it either during a visa application or a routine health check. The 5-10% with symptoms lose appetite, along with low energy levels and fatigue,” the doctor explained.

“Earlier, blood transfusion and using infected needles were the most common causes. Now, tattooing is,” he added.

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