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CDC confirms 3 patients got HIV from ‘vampire facials’ at unlicensed New Mexico clinic

The New York Daily News - 4/29/2024

Three people who received so-called “vampire facials” at an unlicensed clinic in New Mexico were infected with HIV, marking the first documented cases of people contracting the virus during a cosmetic procedure, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The stories of patients at VIP Spa in Albuquerque had been chronicled previously, but the CDC confirmed in a study published April 25 that the virus had been transmitted during the advanced facelift procedures.

Vampire facials, also known as platelet-rich plasma microneedling procedures, involve taking blood from a patient’s arm and separating it into platelets and cells. The plasma is then injected back into the patient’s face to give them a fresher look.

The high-tech facials gained popularity in the 2010s, and celebs including Kim Kardashian had the procedure. Vampire facials are generally considered safe if done correctly.

But VIP Spa was cutting corners, according to the CDC and New Mexico prosecutors. When health inspectors examined the clinic, they found blood on a kitchen counter, unlabeled tubes of blood and injectables in the refrigerator and unwrapped syringes not properly disposed of.

The investigation began in 2018 when a woman with no other risk factors for HIV tested positive for the virus after receiving a vampire facial at VIP Spa. Shortly afterward, two more clients tested positive despite a similar lack of other risk factors.

More than 100 former clients of the spa were tested in 2018 and 2019 as part of the CDC investigation. Though one other client and her sexual partner also tested positive, the CDC said they were “likely” exposed to the virus before one visited the spa.

VIP Spa was shut down in 2018, and owner Maria de Lourdes Ramos de Ruiz pleaded guilty in 2022 to five counts of practicing medicine without a license. She got three and a half years in prison.

With News Wire Services

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