Tattoo parlours which refuse to serve people with HIV should have their licences revoked, Kezia Dugdale has urged.
The Labour MSP condemned reports that some HIV-positive people who disclose their condition at tattoo studios have been turned away, as she called on the Scottish Government to support demands to close such businesses down for breaking the law.
She made the plea to public health minister Joe Fitzpatrick during a debate in the Scottish Parliament.
The minister responded: “This should not be happening in Scotland and I think we need to raise awareness, and as part of that tackle stigma.
“Like the member (Ms Dugdale), I am concerned to hear of the difficulties that some HIV-positive people are experiencing in getting a tattoo.
“I’m clear that there is absolutely no place for HIV stigma in today’s Scotland.
“The standard infection control procedures that all tattoo studios should have in place provide protection against blood-borne viruses, including HIV.”
Ms Dugdale has also lodged a motion in the Parliament calling for an end to HIV discrimination in tattoo studios.
The former Scottish Labour leader added: “HIV is still the most stigmatised health condition in Scotland and barriers to services like tattooing only perpetuate the stigma which often leads to shame, isolation and embarrassment for people living with HIV.
“Education and information are key tools to eliminating stigma, and the Scottish Government must work closely with local authorities to ensure no licensed premise continues to discriminate against people living with HIV.
“It’s illegal for tattoo studios to discriminate based on someone’s HIV status and standard infection controls which include single-use needles and sterilised equipment are enough to negate any risk of HIV transmission.
“I fully support HIV Scotland’s campaign to end this discrimination and to apply pressure on local authorities to revoke licences for tattooists who refuse service for anyone living with HIV.”