New HIV case linked to “vampire facial” in a spa

A new case of HIV has been linked to a “vampire facial” at an Albuquerque spa that closed in 2018, the New Mexico Department of Health said this week.

The only patient-reported HIV risk of 2023 was a “vampire facial” at the VIP Beauty Salon and Spa in 2018. Two HIV cases had previously been linked to injection-related procedures at the spa in 2019, he said the department.

The Department of Health said it had reopened its investigation into the spa and is recommending former clients who received injection-related services — including vampire facials or Botox — get tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

As part of the earlier investigation, the state health department provided tests to more than 100 spa patrons. Former clients should be retested even if they previously tested negative, the department said on Wednesday.

“It is very important to spread the word and remind people who have received any type of injection related to the services provided at the VIP Spa to undergo free and confidential testing,” said Dr Laura Parajon, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health, he said in a press release.

The spa closed in 2018 after a state inspection found unsafe practices that could spread blood-borne infections to patrons.

As of July 5, the Department of Health has identified additional HIV infections “with a direct or indirect link to the services provided at the VIP Spa,” it said, although it did not specify how many.

In June 2022, the spa owner pleaded guilty to five felonies for practicing medicine without a license, the Department of Health said this week.

A vampire facial, also known as a plasma-rich protein facial, involves injecting plasma into the skin of the face using a tool called a micro-needling pen. That plasma typically comes from your own blood. Infections could occur if micro-needling tips or syringes were reused, or if another patient’s blood was used to do facials, for example.

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