Do You Remember Neil Parrott’s HIV Tattoo Letter?

Don't forget about the 2005 Neil Parrott HIV tattoo letter.

Do you recall the now-infamous HIV tattoo letter that Republican Neil Parrott once authored?

The Herald-Mail, now Herald-Mail Media, published Parrott’s HIV tattoo letter in March 2005.

A Summary of the Neil Parrott HIV tattoo letter

In his letter, Neil Parrott lamented the rising number of HIV infections in Washington County and called for a “compassionate and serious response” to the “epidemic.”

“It’s time to take HIV seriously,” wrote Neil Parrott, now a Republican candidate for Maryland’s 6th congressional district.

What “compassionate and serious” solution did Neil Parrott propose in 2005 to combat Washington County’s rising HIV infection rates?


Government-mandated tattoos.

Neil Parrott is running for Congress. He wrote a letter in 2005 about HIV tattoos.

“One such solution is a tattoo for those who are infected,” Parrott said.

Neil Parrott, thinking compassionately, suggested tattooing HIV-positive individuals “inconspicuously.”

On which body region does Parrott suggest the ink?

“In a spot covered by a bathing suit, warning only those who might engage in intimate encounters with the infected person,” Parrott wrote as carnival music played loudly.

Enforcing The HIV Tattoo Mandate

Parrott compassionately suggested denying medication to HIV-positive individuals until they decided to get inked.

Throughout much of his public life, Mr. Parrott has worn his evangelical Christianity on his proverbial sleeve.

Denying HIV-positive individuals medication is the going rate these days for “Christian compassion.”

But during a global health pandemic, Mr. Parrott remains sternly opposed to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

“There should not be a COVID passport, Mr. Parrott’s campaign website states.

Nor should people who refuse a COVID-19  vaccination be treated as “second-class citizens,” Mr. Parrott’s website exclaims as he desperately searches for every remaining paper copy of his 2005 HIV letter within a 100-mile radius.

“In addition,” Parrott’s website states that “people should not be fired from their jobs simply because they would rather not get the COVID shot.

But Parrott would deny HIV-positive Americans their medication for refusing Parrott’s “compassionate” HIV tattoo solution.

There are those Christian values Mr. Parrott incessantly boasts about during his summer super-spreader ice cream socials.

Parrott’s Solution 

Neil Parrott’s 2005 HIV tattoo proposal was “in no way a solution on its own,” he wrote while booking a summer vacation to Obersalzberg.

“The real solution,” Parrott said as he turned up the volume on his CD player that blasted the Benny Hill theme song, is “for sex to be esteemed more highly and practiced only by married (straight) couples.

Because, of course, HIV transmission is possible only outside the confines of wholesome marital monogamy.

“Abstinence-only education” is Parrott’s hard-and-fast solution.

Abstinence “sends a clear signal to students” about the expectations of sex without “sending mixed messages,” Parrott wrote as he opened a package containing his rose-colored water-squirting plastic flower.

Wrapping up, Parrott wrote that HIV tattoos are “100 percent” unmistakable signs that allow all parties to make informed decisions before sexual intimacy.

“These practical solutions treat this epidemic with the seriousness it deserves.”

Parrott reiterated HIV tattoos were the “compassionate” solution to combatting the rising HIV transmission rates in Washington County.

Neil Parrott’s 2005 HIV Tatto Letter

“According to reports, 238 Washington County residents have been diagnosed with HIV infection. This threefold increase in the county since 1997 requires a compassionate and serious response to this epidemic.

The most noted solutions among the professionals include education regarding how to have ‘safe sex,’ and yearly testing for everyone, whether or not they are in a high-risk group.

These solutions do not go to the root of the problem. They also leave a hollow promise that if these solutions were implemented, the HIV infection rate would decline.

In actuality, teaching children how to have sex in a safer way actually increases sexual activity and, consequently, the rate of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.

It encourages children to engage in the risky behaviors that subject them to diseases rather than affirming the one and only solution that truly works – abstinence.

The article by Tara Reilly presents one of the sad failures of the ‘education’ solution when talking about the increase in HIV rates among women, stating, ‘Unfortunately for them, they’ve just gotten with the wrong partner.’

As revealed by a Health and Human Services Department study, condoms do not prevent the spread of HIV, even when used properly, every time.

Testing seems like a sensible solution to help control the spread of HIV, but one may ask, “What difference will that make?”

Reilly’s article went on to state that ‘there have been cases in which people knew they were infected and continued to engage in risky behavior.’

So how does testing stop that, or warn their partners of the potentially deadly encounter they are about to have?

Doesn’t everyone deserve to be protected from the start, not just after-the-fact, with testing?

It is time to take the threat of HIV seriously.

A compassionate and serious solution must preserve the dignity of those infected while truly helping to prevent the spread of the disease in an effective way.

One such solution is a tattoo for those who are infected.

This mark could be inconspicuously placed, perhaps in a spot covered by a bathing suit, warning only those who might engage in intimate encounters with the infected person.

An effective way to enforce the consistency of the tattoo would be to provide medicine to the infected individual only after they have received the HIV tattoo.

The tattoo in no way is a solution on its own.

The real solution is for sex to be esteemed more highly, so that it is only practiced within marriage.

Abstinence-only education sends a clear signal to students about what is expected, without mixing messages.

The HIV tattoo would, however, help to prevent the spread of infection by people who know that they are infected, but who choose not to curb their behavior, putting their partners at risk.

It would be a 100 percent unmistakable sign allowing all parties involved to make an informed decision.

These practical solutions treat this epidemic with the seriousness it deserves, while being compassionate to those infected, and to those who are at risk of unknowingly becoming infected one day.

Neil Parrott

Neil Parrott’s Letter Disappears From Herald-Mail Website

Try searching for Neil Parrott’s HIV tattoo letter on the Herald-Mail’s website.

Herald Mail search for Neil Parrott HIV Tattoo Letter

Did you find Parrott’s HIV Tattoo letter?

Neil Parrott's 2005 HIV Tattoo Letter is no longer found on Herald-Mail Media's website

Now try running a Google search on “Neil Parrott HIV tattoo letter” or “Delegate Neil Parrott HIV tattoo letter.”

You’ll find a few blog articles on the subject.

But no longer can you find Parrott’s letter in the annals of the Herald-Mail Media website.

Why do you think that is?

The Baltimore Sun did however reference Parrott’s HIV tattoo letter in a July 2012 article.

Parrott’s HIV tattoo letter still creeps into discussions among Maryland politicos, though his infamous letter is not an unkept secret.

To date, Neil Parrott has not publicly addressed his 2005 HIV tattoo letter.

Have Parrott’s beliefs changed since his letter’s publication?

Parrott has not responded to or declined to comment when contacted by A Miner Detail.

Neil Parrott is Running for Congress 

Neil Conrad Parrott of Hagerstown, Maryland, has represented Maryland Legislative District 2B since 2011.

District 2B is a two-member district covering parts of Washington County.

Forgoing re-election to the Maryland House of Delegates, Parrott is running for Congress in 2022.

Mr. Parrott won the 6th District’s Republican nomination in 2020 but was defeated in the November general election by Rep. David J. Trone (D).

The Maryland Court of Appeals pushed back the state’s primary election from June 28 to July 19

Parrott is expected to face David Trone in the November 2022 general election.

Ryan Miner Administrator
Ryan Miner is Editor & Founder of A Miner Detail, a Maryland Politics Blog.