News in 5: Mum’s HIV diagnosis from tattoo; 2DAY FM rape claims; ‘Dr. Google’ might actually be useful.

Video via Channel 7

Warning: This article contains information about sexual assault which may be distressing for some readers.

1. Lyn Parent’s impulsive decision to get a tattoo left her with an HIV diagnosis and only six months to live.

Lyn Parent
Lyn Parent. Image via Facebook.

It was July 1992 when Lyn Parent made an impulsive decision that would change her life forever: while accompanying her little sister to get a tattoo, Lyn decided she would get one of her own, a butterfly on her bikini line.

As the eldest, she told her sister she would go first, eager to calm her sibling's nerves.

"I remember noticing that a guy before me had had a tattoo and the artist hadn't changed the needles. But I didn't think anything of it. We didn't in those days, I wasn't worried," Lyn told Daily Mail Australia this week.

"In fact, I told my sister I would go first as I was the eldest. He changed the needle after he inked me."

She didn't give her new tattoo a second thought, returning to France, where she was working as a tour guide at the time. Eight weeks later, she developed flu-like symptoms.

"I had a yellow face, I couldn't eat and I needed to sleep nearly all the time," Lyn said.

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"I knew I needed to go to the doctor, and when they told me my temperature was extremely high, I returned home where specialists ran lots of tests to see whether I had malaria."

Ten days and more tests later, Lyn was handed a devastating diagnosis: she had HIV and doctors predicted she had just six months left to live. After running tests on three of her ex-boyfriends, Lyn was then told she had contracted the disease from her tattoo.

"I remember being shocked. I had no idea that was possible," she told Daily Mail Australia.

Lyn was determined to "live every day like it was her last", moving to Rotorua with her now ex-partner. Despite her initial prognosis, more than 20 years later, she is still alive.

Now a mother of two children - who are both HIV-free - Lyn, who takes medication to keep her HIV at bay, has dedicated her life to raising awareness around HIV and AIDS.

"Anyone can get HIV and AIDS and it's important that precautions are taken. I think the testing should be compulsory, like smear tests," she said.

"The stigma is really bad, but there are so many women with HIV.

"I have no regrets, it is what it is. Plus, I think about the good things. Had I not been diagnosed, I wouldn't have done all these things with my life."

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2. A former 2DAY FM staffer has gone public with claims he was raped by a male executive in 2013.

Blake Phillips 2DAY FM
Blake Phillips. Image via Instagram.

Former staffer at 2Day FM Blake Phillips has made public an accusation that a male executive at the company raped him in August 2013, when he was employed at the station as a senior video producer.

Posting the allegations to his blog, Phillips said he went to the police at the time of the alleged rape, but decided not to press charges. A decision he says is "regrettable in hindsight" and is hoping to amend, having reopened the investigation with police in December.

Phillips said the executive was fired from 2Day FM following his accusation. That he was "stood down, walked out of the building". But then, the executive took a job with a competitor and his reputation was saved.

"That sucked," Phillips wrote.

This claim is partly backed up by 2Day FM, who released a statement published by Pedestrian TV, which reads: "In 2013, on becoming aware of the incident, Southern Cross Austereo (the parent company) acted promptly by investigating and terminating the employment of the (staff member). SCA supported Blake including assisting him with his conversations with the police and providing him with extensive counselling."

Speaking to News Corp, police confirmed they are "conducting inquiries" regarding the allegations.

Phillips is hoping he can help others understand actions such as these, by those in "direct power of your career", are "despicable and torturous" and should not be the victim's burden to carry.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT.

3. It turns out, 'Dr. Google' may actually be useful for detecting melanoma in Aussies.

mole check doctor melanoma skin cancer
Image via Getty.

While googling one's symptoms isn't normally advised, a group of Queensland scientists have found that internet searches about the signs of melanoma have actually helped a number of cases be officially diagnosed.

According to The Courier Mail, scientists from the University of the Sunshine Coast, QUT and Cancer Council compared searches for different types of cancer with confirmed cases, and found there was a significant link between melanoma and web searches.

While other cancers didn't show a direct correlation, research leader Professor Michael Kimlin said the melanoma link was most likely because a suspicious spot on the skin is more noticeable than the signs and symptoms of other cancers that occur inside the body.

"People are Googling it, seeing it and thinking 'this is far more serious than I thought' and going to the doctor," Professor Kimlin told The Courier Mail.

"It shows people are following it up.

"If people weren't concerned they wouldn't be going to the doctor."

The research - which broke down Internet searches into almost postcode-sized regions across Queensland - could also be used to better target money for treating the disease in the areas which need it the most.

4. Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi has hinted other MPs are having sex with their staff, as the WA Nationals withdraw their support for Joyce.

Cory Bernardi
Cory Bernardi. Image via Getty.

The leader of the Australian Conservatives party, Cory Bernardi, has suggested that Barnaby Joyce may not be the only Turnbull minister who has been having sexual relations with staff, The Guardian reports.

After the revelation that the deputy PM was expecting a baby with his former media adviser Vikki Campion and just days after the Prime Minister publicly banned politicians from having sex with their staff, Bernardi told  Radio National that Joyce "wasn't alone" in his actions.

"I would say that I don't think Barnaby Joyce is Robinson Crusoe on this," he said.

Stressing that he did not think the #BonkBan was necessary, he added: "Self-evidently, the standards by which I'm holding myself, or which I expect of others, have not been met by those within some of the ministerial ranks."

"I make this point that it's not just Barnaby Joyce that we could be discussing," he added.

While he didn't name names, he did say there was a "culture problem where people think that this is OK".

Bernardi's comments came on the same day as the WA Nationals became the first state to officially withdrew support for the federal leader.

WA Nationals state leader Mia Davies issued a statement saying she told Mr Joyce he is now a distraction.

"Mr Joyce's actions have caused pain for his family but it is the ongoing damage Mr Joyce is causing the Nationals organisation that is of greatest concern to me as WA leader," Ms Davies said.

The WA branch of the party does not have any federal MPs and will play no role in any potential vote on the leadership, but it was second only to the NSW branch in political donations last financial year, receiving $1.785 million.

Mr Joyce shot back in a statement to Sky News, pointing out WA didn't have any federal MPs and the eastern states, which had more "skin in the game", supported him.

His federal Nationals colleague Matt Canavan said there was a "level of disappointment" about the situation, but party supporters wanted Mr Joyce to keep fighting for regional Australia.

He said the vast majority of Nationals MPs backed Mr Joyce as leader, but a spill was a matter for the party room.

5. A Victorian man is accused of keeping his young wife as a 'slave', forcing her to survive on just bread and pickles.

woman at window dark domestic violence abuse
Image via Getty.

Neighbours came to the aid of a woman who was allegedly being kept as a slave by her husband, taking her into their Melbourne homes, court documents show.

According to AAP, the Indian woman arrived in Australia to be with her husband in 2015 and lived with him and his brother in Melbourne's southeast.

But the husband then allegedly abused the woman, forcing her to do housework and barring her from leaving the home.

It's also alleged he made her live on pickles and bread, took away her mobile phone, and regularly forced her to perform a sex act on him.

The young wife eventually fled the home in a state of fear, seeking help from neighbours who raised the alarm, Melbourne Magistrates Court has been told.

"(She) was wearing tracky pants and thongs," a neighbour, who can't be named, said in a police statement.

"She said her husband had taken her phone and her computer. She also said she was all by herself and had no one to talk to.

"She was upset, so I gave her a tissue."

The neighbour arranged for another family nearby, who were Indian, to meet the woman. She subsequently stayed with them while authorities got involved.

The court on Tuesday continued a committal hearing for the husband, with evidence from the alleged victim's sisters.

The husband, who can't be named for legal reasons, is charged with the Commonwealth offence of intentionally reducing his wife to a slave in their home.

The hearing, which will determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, is due to continue until Thursday.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT.

6. Oh my: Your local RSPCA could be offering up puppies, ponies and other adoptable pets for just $29 this weekend.

woman kissing cat kitten pets
Image via Getty.

If you're looking for a new pet to shower with love and affection, this weekend could be the perfect time to find your new best friend.

RSPCA shelters across the country - excluding Western Australia and Tasmania - are holding a 'Clear The Shelters' drive, which sees adoption fees for pets reduced to a maximum of just $29 no matter the pet's age, size or species.

The event will take place this weekend, from February 23-35, and it's not just cats and dogs there are on offer: creatures like mice, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs and even horses will also be available to go to new, loving homes.

Normal adoption procedures will still apply, ensuring each animal goes to the perfect "forever family". Adoption fees include desexing and microchipping services, as well as vaccinations, behavioural and veterinary checks.

RSPCA NSW spokeswoman Stefania Kubowicz told The Daily Telegraph last year's event saw record-breaking 90 per cent of all adoptable animals in NSW re-homed.

"It was really special for the staff, a lot of the staff were quite emotional seeing all these dogs, some had been in care for 300 plus days, so that was really beautiful to see," she said.

"We also did some pretty in-depth follow-ups around the six month period just to make sure there weren't any negative outcomes to lowering the adoption price and we found it was exactly on par with normal adoptions."

Those looking to adopt can pre-register via their state's RSPCA website. See which animals are looking for their new forever homes here.

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