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Colored pigment implanted in or injected into the dermis, usually for decorative purposes, occasionally an accidental consequence of an explosion that injects pigmented fragments. Tattoos have been part of many human cultures for at least several millennia. Among the New Zealand Maori and other Polynesian cultures, tattoos are traditional symbols of standing in the community. Among sailors, members of the armed forces of many nations, and a small proportion of others, mostly young adults, tattoos are a status symbol. The process carries a risk of introducing serious pathogens, including HIV and hepatitis, but other aspects of lifestyle that may be prevalent in the same people probably carry a higher risk of infection.

Subjects: Arts and Humanities — Medicine and Health.

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