HIV blood test leads to Australian Bali tattoo warning

75% of HIV/AIDS cases in Bali contracted through hetrosexual sex

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has warned Australian tourists that those who get tattoos in Bali take the same risks as having unprotected sex after a HIV blood test indicated an Australian citizen contracted HIV following a tattoo on the Indonesian island.

Last week the West Australian Department of Health announced that a HIV blood test on a local resident who had a tattoo while in Bali had returned a positive HIV result, but declined to reveal any further information about the person or the tattooist who is said to have caused the HIV infection.

Doctor Paul Armstrong, WA Health Department’s Director of Communicable Disease Control, said: “We would advise that you wait until you get back to this country (Australia) because there is a higher risk of developing blood-born viruses in developing countries than there is here.”

More than one million Australians a year visit Bali with the warm weather, vibrant backpacker scene in the Legian area, and cheap alcohol seeing many acting in a way they wouldn’t if back home, with a Balinese “souvenir tattoo” ranking high on the list of things done on the spur of the moment and later regretted.

David Mountain, president of the AMA West Australia branch said “people need to not park their brain when they go to a third-world country, and realize that health regulations are not going to be the same in Bali as here.

“I think it’s [getting a tattoo in Bali] high-risk behavior and it’s really the same as having sex overseas without protection.”

Nyoman Sutedja, head of the Bali Department of Health, confirmed Australian authorities had lodged a report on the incident and said inspectors would start visiting tattooists today (December 26, 2011).

Bali visitors who have gotten a tattoo urged to take a HIV blood test

A HIV blood test from an Australian has prompted a call for anyone recently tattooed in Bali to take a HIV blood test.

A HIV blood test from an Australian has prompted a call for anyone recently tattooed in Bali to take a HIV blood test. Photo: File

Mr. Sutedja said there was about 4,200 people living with HIV/AIDS on Bali, with official Indonesian government figures showing one in four prostitutes are HIV-positive and that the number of detected HIV cases on the island jumped about 19 percent in 2012 over the those known about in 2011.

According to Mr. Sutedja though, “we can’t say for sure if the patient caught the virus from getting a tattoo or sexual contact”.

Dr. Armstrong said people who have recently been tattooed in Bali should seriously consider having a HIV blood test and talk to their doctor about a HIV test”.

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John Le Fevre

Editor at Photo-journ.com
John Le Fevre is an Australian national with more than 30 years' experience as a journalist, photographer, videographer and copy editor. He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia and previously held senior editorial staff positions with various Southeast Asia English language publications and international news agencies. He has covered major world events including the 1991 pillage riots in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2009 Songkran riots in Bangkok, and the 2010 ant-government Bangkok protests. In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.

Comments

HIV blood test leads to Australian Bali tattoo warning — 1 Comment

  1. Dude!!

    >>the warm weather, vibrant backpacker scene in the Legian area, and cheap alcohol seeing many acting in a way they wouldn’t if back home, with a Balinese “souvenir tattoo” ranking high on the list of things done on the spur of the moment and later regretted.<< That's EXACTLY how it it is.

    All that free flowing arak rice wine that I reckon they use for avgas , the beach, the hot babes, the cool music, more parting and then a tattoo to finish off the night until fuck me! when you wake up the next day.

    First thing I did was race off to a clinic for a HIV instant test – dumb I know. Then another rapid HIV test a week later and another HIV instant test a month later. All were negative. I did a fourth rapid HIV test at another clinic 3 months later and that was also negative.

    That arak is lethal, the babes hypnotizing (and accommodating) but next time I'll take a few kits and test the babes first and avoid anymore tattoos.

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