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'Vampire facials' at unlicensed spa likely resulted in HIV infections: CDC

Three women likely contracted HIV after receiving so-called "vampire facials" making them the first known cases of the virus being transmitted during a a cosmetic injection procedure.

Three women likely contracted HIV after receiving so-called "vampire facials" at an unlicensed spa in New Mexico, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The shocking findings would make them the first known cases of the virus being transmitted during a non-sterile cosmetic injection procedure, the CDC says. 

A "vampire facial," according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, is a procedure where blood is drawn from the arm, placed into a machine which "separates the platelets from the rest of your blood," then is "re-injected into you (only the part of your blood that contains a high concentration of platelets)."


The procedure is also known as "platelet-rich plasma" and is considered to be a more affordable and less invasive option than getting a facelift.

Kim Kardashian is among those to have undergone the treatment. She posted an image of her bloody face after undergoing the process in 2013 but has since come out against the procedure.

The CDC’s investigation states that a woman in her 40s tested positive for HIV while traveling abroad in 2018.

The patient reported no injection drug use, recent blood transfusions, or recent sexual contact with anyone other than her current sexual partner, who received a negative HIV test result after the patient’s diagnosis. However, the patient did report exposure to needles during a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) microneedling procedure in spring 2018 at spa A in New Mexico.

Another person tested positive for the virus during routine tests for life insurance in 2018, while a third did not find out she had HIV until last year, when hospitalized with an "AIDS-defining illness."


"This investigation identified an HIV cluster associated with receipt of cosmetic injection services at an unlicensed facility that did not follow recommended infection control procedures or maintain client records," the CDC states. 

While the CDC report did not name the spa, referring to it as "Spa A," last year a spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was linked to several new HIV cases and the New Mexico Department of Health reached out to its former clients stating that there was a risk they may have contracted HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C infection.

The spa, VIP Beauty Salon and Spa, closed in September 2018 after a multi-state agency "identified practices that could potentially spread blood-borne infections, such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C to clients."

In June 2022, the spa's owner, Maria Ramos De Ruiz, pleaded guilty to five felony counts of practicing medicine without a license, according to KRQE. She was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison. 

However, the source of contamination remains unknown, the report states. 

"Although the investigative team was not permitted to collect specimens from spa A, evidence from this investigation supports the likely transmission of HIV through poor infection control practices."

Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report. 

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