Published: Thu, May 02, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

"Vampire facials" at New Mexico spa linked to two HIV cases

The health department's investigation has not identified any other potential exposures for HIV transmission for the two clients other than injection-related procedures at the spa, the press release said.

"More recently in this year, we were notified of a second infection", New Mexico health department official Dr. Tierney Murphy said.

The VIP Spa was closed after health officials determined that treatments offered there could potentially spread blood-borne infections, such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C to clients.

The VIP Spa was closed in September.

But is the buzzy, nonsurgical procedure known as the "vampire facial" - which requires drawing the customer's blood, extracting the platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and then injecting it back into the face via microneedling - potentially unsafe?

Two people who received injection-related facials at a United States spa have now been infected with the same strain of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), according to New Mexico health officials.

"Additional laboratory testing on specimens from the two clients indicates recent infection with the same HIV virus - increasing the likelihood that the two HIV infections may have resulted from a procedure at the VIP spa". Free testing sites include the South Valley Health Commons and Casa de Salud Family Medical Office, both located in Albuquerque.

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While there is promising research behind PRP, with evidence showing that it can speed up skin healing and boost collagen production, this news sheds light on an important, often overlooked problem: it's finding a licensed professional to inject the stuff that is key.

Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel said Monday that more than 100 clients of the spa have already been tested, but that the department wanted to ensure everyone was aware of possibility of infection.

Ali advised patients interested in vampire facials make sure they see practitioners opening new syringes to draw blood, as well as changing the micro-needling pen before performing the procedure.

The facial began trending back in 2013, when Kim Kardashian posted a photo of herself mid treatment.

Kim Kardashian has a "vampire facial". Other names for the facials are PRP facials (platelet-rich plasma facials) or PRP injections.

Anyone receiving beauty treatments involving needle injections should verify the services are being provided by a licensed medical provider.

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