Yellowknifers are warned to steer clear of unlicensed tattoo artists in an advisory issued by the Northwest Territories’ chief public health officer on Monday.

The territory says it issued the advice after becoming aware of an unlicensed artist offering to tattoo Yellowknife residents in their homes.

“Tattoo services require sterile equipment and a sanitary environment to prevent transmission of skin infections and bloodborne systemic infections such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C,” read the advisory.

“Individuals who have recently received tattoos from an unlicensed tattoo artist are advised to contact the Yellowknife Public Health unit on (867) 920-6570 to arrange to be counseled and offered testing for the above
diseases.”

The territory referred anyone with concerns to its guide entitled Tattooing and your Health, adding that the city’s only licensed tattoo or piercing premises is the downtown Harley’s Hardrock Shirt Shack, also known as Yellowknife Tattoo.

The Department of Health and Social Services told Cabin Radio the advisory is a precautionary measure only, with no recent reported illnesses or incidents as a result of unlicensed tattoo work.