A man living with HIV has spoken about how he was made to feel like a “second class citizen” after he tried to get a tattoo in Glasgow.

Antony Fox, who made a speech in the Scottish Parliament for World AIDS Day in 2017, told the Herald on Sunday about how a studio refused to serve him after he disclosed his health condition.

“Within ten minutes of leaving the studio, I received a voicemail advising that they would be unable to tattoo me," he said.

Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “There is no recorded example of anyone passing on HIV because of tattooing. Tattoo artists who chose to discriminate against those with HIV are acting with total ignorance and could be found guilty of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.”

A council licence is required for activities such as acupuncture, electrolysis, cosmetic body piercing and tattooing, under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

However, this newspaper revealed recently that tattoo parlours across the country had been turning away people who live with HIV.

It led to Nathan Sparling, the chief executive of the HIV Scotland charity, writing to all council leaders to say that such a practice is discriminatory.

He wrote that studios should be following procedures which would “entirely negate the risk of HIV transmission”.

Aitken, the first SNP leader of Glasgow council, responded by saying she agreed the evidence is “clear” that the risk of HIV infection is “negated” if standard infection control procedures are followed.

Part of her letter also laid out the conditions for an operator getting a skin piercing and tattoo licence:

“The licence holder shall ensure that any client who presents a condition that is a contraindication to the skin piercing or tattooing procedure be asked to seek medical advice from their GP prior to the treatment being carried out.

“Written authorisation from the client’s GP shall be provided prior to any treatment being undertaken”.

The letter added: “At present, where an individual discloses HIV on the pre-questionnaire provided to them by the tattooist, it is normal practice for the licence holder to ask the individual to provide a GP’s letter prior to any treatment being carried out.”

Fox, 28, from Airdrie, was left feeling “angry” and “hurt” after he was rejected by a tattoo parlour in Glasgow.

After visiting a studio in April, he said he agreed to book an appointment, paid a £100 deposit, and completed the necessary forms.

However, Fox said he received a refusal on his phone within minutes of leaving the studio:

“On returning to the store I was taken aside but was still in hearing distance of the waiting area where people were seated."

He added that he was told by the studio that a “letter from my GP could prove that I was fit to be tattooed, but even then it would be at the discretion of the studio”.

Fox, who said he had been on the receiving end of “demoralising, stigmatising discrimination”, continued:

“I was refunded my deposit and left. My message to any tattoo studio would be that as long as universal health and safety procedures are being followed there are no risks to the tattooists, staff, or clients. Education is key to challenging the stigma associated with HIV and people living with or affected by it.”

A council spokesman said: “Glasgow follows the guidance set out by health protection Scotland and the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland. These are clear that if a client tells a tattooist or piercer that they suffer from a condition which may be affected by tattooing, or are using any prescribed medication, then they should refer the client to their GP to discuss the procedure and its potential implications for the health of the client.

“This guidance is very clearly not a barrier to a person with any condition having a tattoo.”

Sparling said: “All councils, not just Glasgow City Council, need to take positive, proactive steps to ensure that licence holders are aware of their duties, including the simple fact that standard infection control procedures negate any risk of HIV transmission.

“Enough is enough. We have already taken steps to investigate how we can ensure the protections in the Equality Act 2010 can be upheld, and will take any steps to ensure people living with HIV are protected from this kind of discrimination in future.”