New Mexico Spa Facials Linked To HIV Cases

State health authorities have reported a new case of HIV that has been linked to a facial treatment known as the “vampire facial.” The procedure was performed at a now-closed New Mexico spa.

The New Mexico Department of Health has recently disclosed that the person who underwent the facial treatment at VIP Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, did so in 2018.

The patient reported the facial as their only potential HIV risk exposure. The patient tested positive for HIV in 2023, and two other customers also tested positive for HIV during the initial investigation.

The spa closed in September 2018 after state inspectors found activities that could have exposed clients to blood-borne illnesses like HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

The Columbia Skin Clinic said of the procedure, “The vampire facial, also known as micro-needling with PRP, is a cosmetic procedure that involves drawing blood from your arm, separating platelets, and injecting them back onto your face.”

The vampire facial treatment has gained popularity due to its ability to minimize pore size, fine lines, and wrinkles while rejuvenating the skin.

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian have helped to popularize the treatment, sharing selfies on social media after receiving the therapy at various spa facilities.

Clients who previously received injection-related services, such as vampire facials or Botox injections, at the VIP Spa are being advised to undergo testing for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

Health officials have recommended that more than 100 former clients who were tested during the initial investigation in 2018 and 2019 should be retested, even if they initially tested negative.

Dr. Laura Parajon, deputy secretary for the health department, made the following statement urging people to be tested, “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.”

As of Wednesday, health authorities have reported that there are additional cases of HIV infections that have been linked to services provided by VIP Spa. However, the exact number of individuals who tested positive has not been disclosed by the agency.

Maria Ramos de Ruiz, the former owner of VIP Spa, pleaded guilty in June of 2022 to five felony counts of practicing medicine without a license and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.