Vampire facials at unlicensed New Mexico spa have infected three women with HIV

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Apr 29, 2024 at 11:33 AM

Reading time: 1 minute

Three women who underwent ‘vampire facials’ at an unlicensed spa in New Mexico have reportedly contracted HIV. Findings published on Thursday 25 April 2024 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that these are the first known cases of the virus being transmitted during a cosmetic injection procedure.

What is a vampire facial?

A vampire facial is an advanced skincare cosmetic procedure that involves using tiny, fine needles to withdraw a small amount of blood from your skin and use it to improve the skin’s health. According to the London Cosmetic Clinic, this very specific facial is made possible by drawing blood from a patient’s body, after which a centrifuge is used to separate the platelets and plasma from the red blood cells.

Following this, the micro-needling takes place. A professional will rub platelet-rich plasma (PRP) on the skin to stimulate elastin fibres and collagen that promote cell turnover, which will, in theory, seriously improve the conditions of the facial skin.

@jackiedymondskin

Vampire Facial 🧛🏻‍♀️#skincare #skincareroutine #dermatologist #prp #microneedlingface #vampirefacial #fyp #foryou #viral

♬ Bktherula – LEFT RIGHT - cxshsky

The purpose of a vampire facial is to firm and plump the skin, reduce fine lines, and improve moisture retention.

It’s also considered a less invasive cosmetic procedure and can be quite reasonable in price, with most vampire facials costing approximately $200. However, if a vampire facial is done in an unsanitary environment or by an unqualified aesthetician, there can be dire consequences.

According to CBS News, the VIP spa in New Mexico that is reportedly at fault was first brought to the state health official’s attention in 2018 when a client tested positive for HIV while travelling abroad. Later that same year, another former spa client tested positive during a routine health check. The third woman only found out that she had contracted the disease after she was hospitalised in 2023 with an AIDS-related illness.

The spa was closed by state officials in 2018 after inspectors identified practices that could potentially spread blood-borne infections, such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C to clients.

Indeed, Maria Ramos de Ruiz, the owner of the New Mexico spa, pleaded guilty in June of 2022 to five felony counts of practising medicine without a license.

The health department has urged anyone who had any injection-related service at the VIP spa to get tested for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

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