Austrlian health authorities are warning of possible HIV risk in getting tattooed in the Indonesian island of Bali.
The alert from the Department of Health of Western Australia follows confirmation of a case of HIV, "where all the evidence points to a tattoo received recently in Bali as being the source of the infection."
AdvertisementIt is said that the WA Health notified Commonwealth authorities last week after a resident undertook a blood test on his return from Indonesia.
The victim's age and sex or details of where the tattoo was obtained in Bali have not been released.
Department of Health Communicable Disease Control Director Dr Paul Armstrong said getting body art and piercings done overseas, particularly in developing countries, was not recommended.
"While tattooists in Western Australian must comply with strict regulations and a code of practice, tattoo parlours overseas may not meet the same standards," Dr Armstrong said.
"This case demonstrates the very real health risk in having this type of procedure done overseas," he said.
"Western Australians who have had a tattoo done in Bali recently should consult their GP and consider the need for testing for HIV and other blood-borne viruses.
"The equipment used in tattooing and body piercing, if contaminated with infected blood, can pose a risk of transmission of blood-borne viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C as well as bacterial infections."
It is the first time Australian authorities have been notified about HIV contraction from a tattoo. The WA Aids Council says travellers need to be aware of local conditions when they are having sex or getting piercings or tattoos overseas.
The council's executive director, Trish Langdon, says tattoos and other procedures where the skin is pierced are subject to strict health department regulations in Australia.
But she says the normal risks associated with HIV are magnified when people travel overseas.
"I just think the risks are too high and I think it's much more prudent to wait until you get back to Australia where you know the standards and regulations are there," she said.
Indonesian officials said last year that the number of known HIV/AIDS cases on Bali was soaring, with one in four prostitutes reported to be HIV-positive and the number of infections jumping almost 19 percent from the year before.
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