Travelers who have gotten tattoos or piercings while in Bali are being warned to seek medical advice after a Western Australian man reportedly contracted HIV during a recent holiday trip.
Australian health officials are urging travelers to be careful about getting tattoos or piercings in developing countries as the regulations and codes of practice don’t necessarily comply with Australia’s.
While investigations are still underway into this particular case, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that to avoid infections from HIV and viral hepatitis, individuals should not share needles for tattoos, body piercings, or other injections.
America’s Food and Drug Administration has also recently launched new tattoo studies to investigate a chemical in black ink called benzo(a)pyrene, which has been shown to cause skin cancer in lab animals and malignant melanomas in some tattoos.
If you’re going to get a tattoo, remember that getting a permanent tattoo is an invasive procedure that requires breaking the skin and coming into contact with blood and body fluids, stated WebMD.
Regardless of where you get your tattoo, make sure all needles are removed from a sterile single-use package before use, and that your artist washes his or her hands and wears sterile gloves.
Inspect the studio: a good rule of thumb beforehand is to check the restroom for cleanliness. Also be sure the tattoo area has clean, hard surfaces without excess clutter.
WebMD also advises that to stay healthy when getting a tattoo, don’t drink alcohol or take medications (especially aspirin) the night before or while getting your tattoo.
After getting a tattoo, carefully follow healing instructions, especially if you’re required to use antibiotic ointment.