Three Women Diagnosed with HIV After 'Vampire Facials' in New Mexico

Three Women Diagnosed with HIV After 'Vampire Facials' in New Mexico


Three women have been diagnosed with HIV after undergoing "vampire facial" treatments at an unlicensed medical spa in New Mexico, marking a troubling development in cosmetic procedures involving needles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that these cases represent the first documented instances of HIV transmission through such a cosmetic procedure.

The procedure, known as a "vampire facial" or platelet-rich plasma microneedling, entails drawing a client's blood, separating its components, and then injecting plasma into the face with tiny needles to rejuvenate the skin. While popular for its purported skin benefits, this procedure has come under scrutiny following the recent HIV diagnoses.

According to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Report, an investigation spanning from 2018 to 2023 uncovered alarming practices at the New Mexico medical spa. It was discovered that the spa had been reusing disposable equipment intended for single use, potentially exposing clients to contaminated blood.

The investigation was prompted by the case of a woman in her 40s who tested positive for HIV despite having no known risk factors. She reported exposure to needles during a procedure at the clinic earlier that year. Following this revelation, the New Mexico Department of Health launched an inquiry into the spa's practices.

As a result of the investigation, the spa was forced to close its doors in the fall of 2018, and its owner faced prosecution for practicing medicine without a license. This underscores the importance of stringent regulations and oversight in the cosmetic industry, particularly for procedures involving needles.

The CDC's report highlights the need for businesses offering cosmetic procedures to adhere to strict infection control practices. Proper sterilization and disposal of equipment are essential to prevent the transmission of bloodborne infections such as HIV.

Moreover, the investigation was hindered by poor record-keeping practices at the spa, which slowed efforts to identify and notify potentially affected clients. This serves as a cautionary tale for businesses in the cosmetic industry, emphasizing the importance of maintaining thorough records for client follow-up.

The implications of these cases extend beyond the realm of cosmetic procedures. They underscore the broader issue of infection control in medical and aesthetic settings alike. Proper training and oversight are essential to ensure the safety of clients and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

The CDC's findings have prompted calls for greater regulation and oversight of the cosmetic industry, particularly for procedures involving needles. While the majority of licensed medical spas adhere to strict safety protocols, incidents such as these highlight the risks associated with unlicensed facilities.

In light of these developments, health officials are urging individuals to research and verify the credentials of any facility offering cosmetic procedures. Additionally, they emphasize the importance of open communication between clients and providers regarding safety protocols and potential risks.

Moving forward, it is crucial for regulatory agencies and industry stakeholders to collaborate on implementing and enforcing standards for infection control in cosmetic procedures. By doing so, they can help ensure the safety and well-being of clients while maintaining the integrity of the cosmetic industry.

In conclusion, the recent cases of HIV transmission through "vampire facial" treatments serve as a stark reminder of the importance of infection control in the cosmetic industry. Strict adherence to safety protocols, proper sterilization of equipment, and thorough record-keeping are essential to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.


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