Man Contracts HIV While Getting Tattoo on Bali Vacation

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By Benge Nsenduluka, CP Reporter
January 4, 2012|2:36 pm

An Australian man contracted HIV while getting a tattoo in Bali, so Indonesia and health officials are urging travelers to avoid getting such procedures done overseas.

The Western Australian man, whose name is being withheld, tested positive for HIV upon returning to Australia from a trip to Bali, according to NineMSN news.

Australian Health officials have now urged any travelers who have had piercings or tattoos done in Indonesia to get tested for infection.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, "A risk of HIV transmission does exist if instruments contaminated with blood are either not sterilized or disinfected or are used inappropriately between clients."

A report by UNAIDS says that AIDS is one of the fastest growing epidemics in Indonesia where an estimated 5 million people are infected.

Australian Department of Health Communicable Disease Control director Paul Armstrong warned the public against having such procedures done in foreign countries.

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"While tattooists in Western Australian must comply with strict regulations and a code of practice, tattoo parlors overseas may not meet the same standards ...This case demonstrates the very real health risk in having this type of procedure done overseas," Armstrong said.

"Western Australians who have had a tattoo done in Bali recently should consult their GP (doctor) and consider the need for testing for HIV and other blood-borne viruses," he added.

Bali, an island famous for having black sand surrounding its tropical beaches, has approximately 1 million tourists visit each year.

While the Australian government insists that "all the evidence points to a tattoo received recently in Bali as being the source of infection,” the Bali government has its reservations.

Nyoman Sutedja of the Bali health department confirmed that the HIV tattoo case has been brought to the government's attention and therefore an investigation is underway, according to Mail Online.

However, Sutedja suggested that in this particular case, the victim may be mistaken.

"At this point, we are still investigating. We can't say for sure if the patient caught the virus from getting a tattoo or sexual contact," Sutedja explained.

 

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