Three women diagnosed with HIV after having vampire facials at unlicensed clinic

Wednesday, May 1, 2024 - Three women have been diagnosed with HIV after getting "vampire facials."

The women were diagnosed with HIV after getting “vampire facial” procedures at an unlicensed New Mexico medical spa, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report, marking the first documented cases of people contracting the virus through cosmetic services using needles.

The diagnosis of a woman in her 40s triggered an investigation into the spa.

It was found that from 2018 to 2023 the spa allegedly reused disposable equipment intended for one-time use, a report by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said.

The risk of passing on HIV from contaminated blood through unsterile injection is well known, but the CDC said this is the first documented case of infections involving cosmetic services.

Once diagnosed, the virus can cause damage to the cells in the immune system, affecting how a person fights everyday infections and diseases.

There is currently no cure but very effective drug treatments.

A "vampire facial", also known as a platelet-rich plasma microneedling procedure, involves using a client's own blood, separating its components and using tiny needles to inject plasma into the face to rejuvenate the skin.

The New Mexico spa closed in 2018 after the investigation by the state's health department was first launched.

Its owner was prosecuted for practising medicine without a licence.

The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality report said the incident shows how important it is for customers to ask a business that offers cosmetic procedures using needles about their infection control practices.

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