‘Vampire Facial’ Link To HIV Infection Prompts Urgent Action

In a startling revelation, an individual has tested positive for HIV, with the suspected cause being a “vampire facial” at the now-closed VIP Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The spa customer underwent the procedure in 2018, and the HIV diagnosis came to light in 2023. The spa was shuttered in 2018 following health inspections that flagged potentially dangerous practices, possibly exposing clients to blood-borne diseases like HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

A vampire facial, or micro-needling with Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), is a beauty treatment that involves extracting blood from a client’s arm, separating platelets, and re-injecting them into the client’s face. Touted as a skin rejuvenation therapy, it gained popularity when Kim Kardashian showcased her facial on Instagram. However, this recent incident of HIV infection linked to the procedure raises severe concerns about the safety of such beauty treatments.

Understandably, former customers of VIP Spa are being encouraged to get tested for HIV and other blood-borne diseases. Even those who tested negative during the initial 2018-2019 investigations are urged to get retested, as the recent diagnosis suggests the possibility of late-emerging infections. Dr. Laura Parajon, deputy secretary for the health department, noted, “It’s very important that we spread the word and remind people who received any kind of injection-related to services provided at the VIP Spa to come in for free and confidential testing.”

This incident also highlights the alarming lack of oversight in the wellness and beauty industry. Maria Ramos de Ruiz, the former owner of VIP Spa, pled guilty in 2022 to five counts of practicing medicine without a license and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

The risk linked with the vampire facial lies in the potential for human error. Customers could contract blood-borne illnesses if the individual administering the procedure fails to maintain sterile conditions or correctly handle the equipment. This unfortunate situation illustrates the dire consequences when providers in the beauty industry skirt medical standards for profit.

While this incident is alarming, it’s important to remember that beauty treatments, including vampire facials, can be safely performed under the correct medical conditions. However, consumers must remain vigilant about the qualifications and hygiene practices of the providers they select. This vigilance is vital to avoid repeating the tragedy that unfolded at VIP Spa.