Two patients who received "vampire facials" at the VIP Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico have been diagnosed with the same strain of HIV.
Health officials are now urging people who have undergone injections, including vampire facials, at this spa to come in for a free testing for HIV as well as hepatitis B and C.
Two Confirmed Cases Of HIV
In a news release from the New Mexico Department of Health, officials confirm that they're investigating the two cases of HIV infection among the clients of VIP spa. The two patients reportedly underwent the vampire facial treatment at the spa between May and September 2018.
With laboratory tests confirming that both are infected by the same strain of HIV, it increases the likelihood that the infections originated from the VIP Spa.
"While over 100 VIP Spa clients have already been tested, NMDOH is reaching out to ensure that testing and counseling services are available for individuals who received injection related services at the VIP Spa," said Kathy Kunkel, NMDOH Cabinet Secretary, in a statement. "Testing is important for everyone as there are effective treatments for HIV and many hepatitis infections."
Experts advise that people who are seeking cosmetic services involving needle injections should always verify that the services are provided by a licensed medical provider.
How Can Vampire Facials Transmit HIV?
According to a report from Allure, vampire facials involve drawing blood from a patient and isolating plasma that's known to stimulate collagen. Then, the plasma is injected back into the skin.
While it's a process that's supposed to be safe, it could also facilitate the spread of blood-borne infections such as HIV.
"They may have drawn blood from more than one person at the same time and crossed samples—meaning blood products drawn from one person were used on another," explained Doris Day, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, in Allure. "Another possibility is that the microneedling device was not properly sterilized after use, and the PRP material contaminated the device and was transferred to the next client."
VIP Spa already shut down in September 2018 after a client contracted an unspecified infection that prompted health officials to investigate the spa's practices.
VIP Spa only uses disposable needles, according to owner Luly Ruiz who said in Action 7 News that she opens the needles in front of each customer.