What's with All the Paperwork?
It's all part of your visit to any (well, any REAL) piercer. You walk in and inquire about the piercing, talk some prices and jewelry, get your ID checked, and then it's copied onto this crazy paperwork with all these disclaimers and questions about your medical history. Some people just skip to the end to write their signature, while others go over every word meticulously to make sure they understand exactly what they're signing. The latter is what you should do, because this paperwork is very important. This paperwork is what protects both you and your piercer.
My paperwork starts with your name, preferred name and pronouns, and your contact information. This is to establish who is getting pierced and how they would like to be addressed, and the contact information is so you may be contacted by either myself or the Health Department should anything come up. This could be a concern over age and custody, or maybe you forgot your wallet and I need to let you know I found it. I also include a line for the parent or guardian of a minor to write their name and relationship to the piercee. Proper paperwork must be provided, of course.
The next section covers your medical history. Some people may find this invasive, but it is quite necessary and will not be seen by anyone but myself and the Health Department, much like when you see a doctor. You will see boxes next to conditions like blood disorders, pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS to be checked if they apply to you. I was recently asked by a client, "So, what do you do if someone has HIV?" My answer is simple: I ask if they got the OK from their doctor, and then I pierce them. The reason for those questions is that any of these conditions could have a negative impact on the healing of the piercing, and some conditions (like heart problems) could impact your overall health should you get pierced. HIV/AIDS in particular make healing quite difficult, which is why we ask if you have either of them. As a person who deals with blood, among other bodily fluids on occasion, I must always assume a client has every bloodborne pathogen that exists in case of needlestick (accidentally puncturing myself) and every needlestick requires a hospital visit. Therefore, this is absolutely no reason to turn away a client who confirms their status and a piercer who does so has not been properly educated. I'll be ok, but I want you to be ok, too.
The last section of the paperwork are disclaimers and warnings about the risks of receiving any form of body art. These little sections simply state that you understand that things like infection, irritation, migration, and other frustrations are possible and that anything done to your fresh piercing after the procedure is out of my hands. While I am always happy to help with any issues, I'm not responsible for any infection or irritation caused by deviating from your aftercare. That means if you put Bactine on your piercing instead of sterile saline, that is absolutely your responsibility and I cannot be sued or held accountable.
Paperwork can definitely be annoying and tedious and revealing your medical history to a stranger may make you feel a little strange, but it's a vital part in making sure that both parties are on the same page (ha!) and there are no misunderstandings. Your health and wellbeing are very important, and knowing that your piercing will heal quickly and easily will give us both peace of mind.