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A Diagnostic Dilemma

Provincial Officials Check Tattoo Parlors for Good Health Practice While Waiting for More Data from Australia on HIV infection Allegedly Acquired While Getting a Tattoo in Bali

(1/6/2012) Warnings from Western Australian Health Officials that visitors to Bali obtaining a tattoo are at risk of HIV infection [See: I’ve Got You Under My Skin]  has been greeted with skepticism in Bali where Indonesian health authorities claim that a lack of information from Australia make its impossible to properly evaluate the accuracy of the Australian reports.

As reported by Kompas.com, the head of the Bali Health Service, Nyoman Sutedja, confirmed that meetings have been held with representatives of the Australian Consulate General in Bali. “They said they were prepared to give us the necessary information. But we cannot force them to hand over this information,” explained Sutedja on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

As reported widely in both the Indonesian and Australian media, an Australian tourist claims to have been infected with HIV after receiving a tattoo in Bali. However, the identity of the tourist and the name of the tattoo parlor where the tattoo was received remains a mystery. Sutedja said there always remains the possibility that the subject tourist acquired the HIV infection via other high-risk activities.

Because of this, the Indonesian authorities are seeking complete details of all activities and movements of the HIV victim in order to better asses the actual source of the infection. In the meantime, health officials in Bali are taking the preventative steps of checking tattoo parlors to ensure the use of proper hygiene and health protocols.

Along Bali’s popular Kuta Beach areas Kompas.com counted no less than 35 tattoo parlors, a number that does not include “roving” tattoo services.
Sutedja confirms that the tattoo studios in operation in Bali are following good health practices. “We have made field checks of all the tattoo studio about which we have received health-related complaints. We have also rounded up the roving tattoo suppliers,” he said.