Efforts To Prevent Tattooing Among Prison Inmates To Curb Spread Of HIV

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The Thai Department of Correctionsis increasing its efforts to prevent prison inmates from tattooingthemselves in an effort to curb the spread of HIV and other diseases,such as hepatitis, the Bangkok Post reports.

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Accordingto a recent study conducted by Ploenjai Taekasem, chief of Thailand'sCriminology Research and Development Centre, 50% of 10,544 inmates whoreceived a medical check-up from November 1997 to October 2002 hadtattoos, and 56% of them were tattooed while incarcerated. Ploenjaisaid because tattooing is banned in prisons, sewing needles, guitarstrings or pens often are used. She added that about 83% of inmatescleaned tattooing materials with alcohol or flames and that many use"ordinary water."

Ploenjai recommended that the correctionsdepartment educate inmates about the effects of tattooing, includingpossible HIV transmission. A 1997 survey found that of 300 inmates withtattoos, 105 contracted HIV from using contaminated tattooinginstruments, John Lerwitworapong, director of the Department ofCorrections Hospital, said (Bangkok Post, 11/19).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report ispublished for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser FamilyFoundation.

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