Australian health authorities have said a patient diagnosed with HIV likely caught the virus while having a tattoo done on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
They recommended that people who had recently been tattooed on the island, known for its white, sandy beaches, partying and nightlife, should consider being tested for HIV and other blood-borne viruses.
Authorities did not reveal any details of the patient concerned.
“All the evidence points to a tattoo received recently in Bali as being the source of the infection,” Western Australia’s Department of Health said in a statement dated Friday.
“This case demonstrates the very real health risk in having this type of procedure done overseas,” said Paul Armstrong, the department’s director of communicable disease control.
The department highlighted the risk not only of tattoos but also of body piercings, saying that besides HIV, patients were also potentially exposing themselves to Hepatitis B and C as well as bacterial infections.
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 per cent from the year before.