Thai Corrections Department Increasing Efforts To Prevent Tattooing Among Prison Inmates To Curb Spread of HIV, Other Diseases
The Thai Department of Corrections is increasing its efforts to prevent prison inmates from tattooing themselves in an effort to curb the spread of HIV and other diseases, such as hepatitis, the Bangkok Post reports.
According to a recent study conducted by Ploenjai Taekasem, chief of Thailand's Criminology Research and Development Centre, 50% of 10,544 inmates who received a medical check-up from November 1997 to October 2002 had tattoos, and 56% of them were tattooed while incarcerated. Ploenjai said because tattooing is banned in prisons, sewing needles, guitar strings or pens often are used. She added that about 83% of inmates cleaned tattooing materials with alcohol or flames and that many use "ordinary water."
Ploenjai recommended that the corrections department educate inmates about the effects of tattooing, including possible HIV transmission. A 1997 survey found that of 300 inmates with tattoos, 105 contracted HIV from using contaminated tattooing instruments, John Lerwitworapong, director of the Department of Corrections Hospital, said (Bangkok Post, 11/19).