“UNAIDS has stated that HIV/AIDS in Indonesia is one of Asia’s fastest growing epidemics.”
(From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Indonesia)
Bali is one of the main areas of concern and with so many Australians visiting the area bringing HIV back to Australia is a very real risk. Many sex workers, both gay and straight work in a grey area where short term relationships of a few days or weeks are part of the experience. This can lead to a higher incidence of unprotected sex than direct single encounters with male or female prostitutes.
With many sex workers reporting frequent incidents of unprotected sex and in an area with an HIV epidemic this is a recipe for disaster for Australians.
In addition to this more obvious sexual risk when travelling, many Australian women travelling overseas for working holidays or extended vacations are contracting HIV and returning to Australia HIV positive.
This has all contributed to what have been the most concerning years of increased HIV incidents in Australia. The HIV situation in Australia is not yet showing any improvement and is seeing its highest rates of new infections in 20 years.
The added risk of new partners, whether they be sex workers or partners of unknown sexual history (and as such at risk of having HIV) and the psychological state of relaxation that goes with travel combine to provide an environment where unprotected sex places the individual at significant risk of contracting HIV or other STDs, STIs.
The last thing anyone wants to bring home with them is HIV or any sexually transmitted disease such as Chlamydia or Hepatitis B. The issue is people let their guard down when on vacation, possibly they are drinking more which also reduces self-control.
It is essential that the safe sex message taught in Australia also travels with Australians and ensures their protection against HIV and other STDs of which some are also potentially fatal. Unprotected sex in any country is not without risk but there is a big difference between the risk in Australia or Bali or Thailand.
Additionally the risk demographic also shifts. The highest prevalence of HIV is still among gay men in Australia but in other countries it is much more common among heterosexuals. In Australia 25% of new infections are attributed to heterosexual sex.
So the message is clear. Pack your condoms, use them, select partners wisely and carefully and if in doubt make sure you carry out an HIV test and STI test. There really is no excuse for not testing when you can easily purchase self-test kits, or home test kits online.