A spa that was ordered to close nearly five years ago amid concerns about serious illnesses has now been linked to another HIV case.
According to reports, a former customer of the VIP Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, tested positive for the virus earlier this year and insisted that the only potential risk for infection was a procedure obtained in 2018.
The individual reportedly underwent a treatment known as a “vampire facial,” which is described by the Columbia Skin Clinic as “a cosmetic procedure that involves drawing blood from your arm, separating platelets and injecting them back onto your face.”
Proponents say the technique reduces wrinkles, shrinks pores, and generally contributes to rejuvenated skin. It has become increasingly popular over the past decade in large part due to its social media promotion by celebrities including Kim Kardashian.
Also known as microneedling with PRP, the treatment involves some level of risk for illnesses transmitted through blood, particularly if it is not provided in sanitary conditions.
VIP Spa was linked to two other HIV cases identified during an initial investigation that resulted in the New Mexico Department of Health closing the business in September 2018. Throughout the end of that year and into the next, health officials urged former clients of the spa to undergo testing.
It is unclear how many infections have been reported in total, but reports indicate that there have been others with a “direct or indirect connection” to procedures received at the VIP Spa.
In addition to shutting down the spa, authorities charged former owner Maria Ramos de Ruiz with criminal counts including practicing medicine without a license. More than a year ago, she pleaded guilty to five felonies and was sentenced to three and a half years behind bars.
🚨 Who is Maria Ramos de Ruiz? – More HIV cases linked to New Mexico 'vampire facial' salon: ‘VIP Beauty Salon & Spa’:
• Ruiz’s salon was shut down in 2018, after cases popped up of people who contracted the same type of HIV that also visited Maria’s salon. Maria performed… pic.twitter.com/jMs7yNGKn0
— True Crime with Laura🕵🏼♀️⚖️ (@Lauraonthecase) July 11, 2023
New Mexico Department of Health Deputy Secretary Dr. Laura Parajon emphasized the fact that screening is still available.
“It’s very important that we spread the word and remind people who received any kind of injection-related services provided at the VIP Spa to come in for free and confidential testing,” she explained in a statement on the matter.
Even those who have already received negative results are encouraged to be retested.