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Dear Abby: Last month my mom got a tattoo, and my dad is so furious about it that he can hardly stand to hear the word "tattoo." He's just sure that my mom has put them both at great risk for contracting HIV. There could be a divorce over this.

I have tried asking doctors and other health care officials, but nobody seems to know for sure.I am a regular reader, and I don't remember ever seeing this issue addressed in your column, which is surprising considering how popular tattoos have become in the last few years.

Any information you could give me would be appreciated. Please don't use my name, city or state if you publish this in your column.

- Needs to Know Dear Needs: According to Dr. Mervyn Silverman, president and spokesman for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, as of November 1991, the Centers for Disease Control had no recorded cases involving transmission of HIV from a tattoo needle. However, it is theoretically possible.

Therefore, it is important for those being tattooed to question the artist as to whether the needles (or any equipment that pierces the skin) have been properly sterilized.

If your father is really concerned about his safety, your parents should use the usual pre-cautions for safer sex, and your mother should be tested for HIV after six months have elapsed from the time she was tattooed.

Those who have other questions about HIV and AIDS should know there is a toll-free AIDS hotline: (800) 342-AIDS.

Dear Abby: I am the mother of two married sons, each of whom has a lovely wife. One daughter-in-law is pregnant and the other just gave birth to a healthy but relatively small baby born three weeks early. My problem is this: Each of these couples is doing very extensive work on their homes, which involves the use of prestain, stain, polyurethane, and/or paint for finishing. Each of the wives is actually participating in these projects and inhaling the fumes from these products. I'm not talking about a couple of days work - these are long-term, extensive projects.

Each says she has asked her doctor if this is a problem. Reportedly, both obstetricians have said there is no problem as long as there is good ventilation (open windows).

I have always been led to believe that this is not a healthy activity for a pregnant woman. I also recall reading an article quite a while back in which a study reported that a high number of early deliveries were linked to mothers who were exposed to these kinds of fumes. I am concerned about possible detrimental effects to the baby.

Perhaps my concerns are unfounded, but right now I don't know what to believe, so I hope that you will publish my letter very soon and that your readers, especially medical personnel and parents with this type of experience, will respond. I will lay aside my concerns if your responses tell me to. Thank you so much from a very

. . . Concerned Grandma (No Name Please)

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