Parents beware of tattoo parties for teens and young adults

A growing popular hangout for teens and young adults is tattoo parties. These are not licensed, registered tattoo parlors where sterile equipment is used.

Anyone who believes himself to be a good artist can buy tattoo equipment and hold a tattoo party where tattoos are done for free for the sake of practicing. To help teens and young adults strip themselves of their inhibitions, alcohol and marijuana are freely passed around.

Once the crowd is feeling good, the artist will ask for a volunteer. The rest of the crowd watches as a friend gets a free tattoo. There are several reasons for parents to be concerned for the health of their children.

Often, the tattoo equipment purchased by the budding artist is used. Without learning the proper way to clean the tools used, the artist sets up shop at a tattoo party. If the equipment is new, the first person tattooed may get by unscathed, however, she may not actually get the tattoo she was hoping for. Drawing on canvas is very different from drawing on the human body.

If several people at the party receive a tattoo, each person is subject to infection from hepatitis B and C, HIV and tetanus. Some people are allergic to the dyes used and can get serious skin infections. Ugly rashes can occur at the tattoo site immediately or years later.

According to the Mayo Clinic, tattoos are permanent designs on your skin with pigments inserted through pricks into the skin’s top layer. Typically, the tattoo artist uses a hand-held machine that acts much like a sewing machine, with one or more needles piercing the skin repeatedly. Very tiny ink droplets are inserted with every puncture. The process is done without anesthetics and causes a small amount of bleeding and slight to potentially significant pain, depending on the area of the body the tattoo is placed.

It is unlikely that unlicensed artists wear a new pair of gloves between volunteers, nor do they wash their hands between tattoos. New needles must be used with each different person, something a budding artist may not do to keep costs down.

Kids usually hide tattoos from parents, not seeking medical attention when the skin gets infected or reacts due to allergy. They surely may not realize they acquired hepatitis or HIV at the tattoo party. It may also be difficult to get an MRI later in life.

Even if everything turns out for the best health wise, there is still the issue of a badly done tattoo. These usually must be endured for life. Getting a tattoo while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is simply a dumb thing to do.

Parents may want to discuss these dangers with kids before they begin dating. Once kids are on the dating scene or old enough to drive themselves to a friend’s house, parents may not know their children are attending tattoo parties. Some teens have died due to allergic reactions to the ink.

Teens may not realize that it takes two weeks or longer for the skin to heal. They must put antibiotic cream on the tattoo while it heals. Kids need to keep the tattooed area clean, change bandages often, not wear abrasive clothing or go swimming until the skin heals.

Study Finds Exercise May Reduce, Possibly Prevent Neurocognitive Impairment

HealthDay News reports that “regular exercise can give a brain boost to people with HIV,  according to a new study.”

The new study by a team led by Dr. David Moore of the  University of California, San Diego suggests that neurocognitive impairment or  dysfunction, sometimes known as HAND (HIV-associated neurocognitive dysfunction—see Aging Positively with HIV by  Dr. Daniel S. Berger in the Sept+Oct issue of PA), may be reduced or  potentially prevented with regular exercise

The study included 335 people with HIV who were asked how  much they exercised. They also underwent testing to assess seven brain  functions commonly affected by HIV: verbal fluency, working memory, speed of  information processing, learning, recall, executive function, and motor  function.

Those who got regular exercise were half as likely to show  signs of impaired mental function as those who did not exercise, according to  the study published in the August issue of the Journal  of NeuroVirology. The findings add to previous research showing a link  between exercise and brain health in people with HIV.

The major benefit of exercise in people with HIV seems to be  the reduction of risk factors that can affect the brain such as high blood  pressure and abnormally high levels of fats in the blood, Moore said.

“Physical exercise, together with other modifiable lifestyle  factors such as education, social engagement, cognitive [mental] stimulation  and diet could be fruitful interventions to support people living with HIV,”  Moore said in a journal news release.

Some HIV-Positive People at Increased Risk for Fungal Disease

 

 

People living with HIV who carry the gene for a specific  protein face a 20-fold greater risk of contracting cryptococcal disease, known  in the vernacular as “crypto,” according to a study published in mBio,  the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Cryptococcus neoformans (C. neoformans) is the most common  cause of fungal meningitis among HIV-positive people. While the disease is a  risk for everyone with HIV who has a very low level of CD4+ T-cells,  researchers have discovered that those with the gene for the protein FCGR3A  158V (Fc) have an immune cell receptor that binds tightly to antibody-bound C.  neoformans. This tight binding by a vigilant immune system may mean the  patient’s own immune system strength becomes a weakness when facing the fungus.

“It’s surprising that a receptor involved with a higher  capacity to bind immune complexes would be associated with susceptibility in  patients with HIV,” says corresponding author Liise-anne Pirofski of the Albert  Einstein College of Medicine & Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx, New  York.

The researchers performed PCR-based genotyping on banked  samples from 164 men enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS),  including 55 who were HIV-positive and developed crypto, a control group of 54  who were HIV-positive and 55 who were HIV-negative. After correcting for a  number of factors like demographics and T-cell counts, they found a strong  association between the Fc-related gene and the risk of cryptococcal disease in  HIV-positive men.

To figure out what that meant, they followed up with binding  studies and discovered that cells that express Fc bind more strongly to  antibody-C. neoformans complexes. Greater affinity for the antibody-C.  neoformans complex could increase the attachment of the fungus to different  immune cells, which could in turn increase the numbers of fungi living and  replicating inside immune cells. And there’s also the possibility that these  infected immune cells could act like a Trojan horse, delivering C. neoformans cells across the blood-brain barrier and allowing them to infect the brain.  Pirofski says these possibilities are now under investigation.

C. neoformans is found all over the environment and studies  show that nearly everyone is exposed to the fungus during their lifetime. The  organism rarely causes disease in healthy people, but strikes most often in  people with weakened immune systems. It is the main cause of fungal meningitis  in people living with HIV, and causes devastating disease in those with  profound CD4+ T cell deficiency.

Pirofski says a test that could distinguish who is most at  risk has the potential to save countless lives, particularly in sub-Saharan  Africa, which is home to 69% of all people living with HIV.

“This could be the beginning of a predictive test, at least  in high-risk people,” says Pirofski. “I think that we’re ready to study this  receptor further as a risk factor for disease in larger cohorts.”

The Florida Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health

 

The Florida Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health invites you to join us in protecting, promoting and improving the health of all residents and visitors in the state of Florida by supporting the statewide campaign to Take a Loved One to the Doctor Month. This year’s theme is “Health by Choice, Not by Chance: Working Together For a Healthy Community”.

The Office of Minority Health is urging all Floridians to take charge of their health and encourage their loved ones to seek healthcare in honor of Take a Loved One to the Doctor.  Initially launched by Tom Joyner and the US Department of Health & Human Services, this campaign specifically aims to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations as well as the elderly, underserved and underrepresented communities.  The Department urges all Floridians to focus on prevention and early detection.

Take a Loved One to the Doctor Month stresses the importance of getting regular checkups from a healthcare professional to aid in the elimination of healthcare disparities.  Minorities suffer disproportionately from cancer, stroke, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and maternal and infant mortality.
During the month of September we want to highlight the importance of working together to protect our loved ones from these and other disparities in healthcare.  This campaign is an annual initiative to remind all Floridians to take charge of their health by visiting a health professional (a doctor, a nurse, a dentist, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant or another health provider).  The focus of the campaign is to encourage individuals to make an appointment to see a physician, attend a health event in the community, or help a friend, neighbor or family member do the same in the month of September or the months ahead.

For additional information regarding Take A Loved One to the Doctor Month health initiative, please visit www.doh.state.fl.us/minority/take_a_loved_one_main.html or contact Cheryl Graham at MinorityHealthLiaison@doh.state.fl.us

invites you to join us in protecting, promoting and improving the health of all residents and visitors in the state of Florida by supporting the statewide campaign to Take a Loved One to the Doctor Month. This year’s theme is “Health by Choice, Not by Chance: Working Together For a Healthy Community”.

The Office of Minority Health is urging all Floridians to take charge of their health and encourage their loved ones to seek healthcare in honor of Take a Loved One to the Doctor.  Initially launched by Tom Joyner and the US Department of Health & Human Services, this campaign specifically aims to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations as well as the elderly, underserved and underrepresented communities.  The Department urges all Floridians to focus on prevention and early detection.

Take a Loved One to the Doctor Month stresses the importance of getting regular checkups from a healthcare professional to aid in the elimination of healthcare disparities.  Minorities suffer disproportionately from cancer, stroke, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and maternal and infant mortality.
During the month of September we want to highlight the importance of working together to protect our loved ones from these and other disparities in healthcare.  This campaign is an annual initiative to remind all Floridians to take charge of their health by visiting a health professional (a doctor, a nurse, a dentist, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant or another health provider).  The focus of the campaign is to encourage individuals to make an appointment to see a physician, attend a health event in the community, or help a friend, neighbor or family member do the same in the month of September or the months ahead.

For additional information regarding Take A Loved One to the Doctor Month health initiative, please visit www.doh.state.fl.us/minority/take_a_loved_one_main.html or contact Cheryl Graham at MinorityHealthLiaison@doh.state.fl.us