HIV Transmission Confirmed At Med Spa

( – Federal officials said the first documented cases of HIV transmission from the use of cosmetic needles were recently recorded in New Mexico, and the transmission came from reusing needles for an unusual procedure called a “vampire facial.”

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three women contracted HIV after receiving the procedure at a spa by a practitioner without a medical license. The Morbidity and Mortality Report showed that the VIP Spa in Albuquerque was investigated between 2018 and 2023 and that the results showed that the spa reused disposable equipment beyond its one-time intended use, including needles.

Unsterile injections are a well-known HIV risk, which is spread from contaminated blood. Despite the known risk, these cases represent the first transmissions from people receiving cosmetic services. Many popular cosmetic procedures involve needles, such as lip fillers and Botox injections. The most common cosmetic procedure that uses needles is tattooing.

The three women diagnosed with HIV all received a “vampire facial” from the New Mexico clinic. A “vampire facial” involves drawing blood from the client, separating the platelet-rich plasma from it, and then using a micro-needling procedure to inject that plasma into the face to rejuvenate the skin.

The New Mexico spa in question was under investigation for a few years by the state’s Department of Health, starting in 2018 after receiving a report of a middle-aged woman who tested positive for HIV despite the absence of known risk factors. The only possible cause was the woman’s exposure through needles after a recent “vampire facial” procedure, which she received in spring 2018 at the clinic.

After the investigation began, the spa closed down in the fall, and the owner faced prosecution for medical malpractice and practicing without a license. Investigators offered free tests for HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B, as well as counseling, to any former clients of the spa. They even recommended that clients who had previously tested negative to test themselves again

The report concluded that the investigation demonstrates why infection control practices are so important in businesses offering cosmetic treatments that use needles. As a consumer, always make sure you are in a fully licensed business and closely observe that the needles used are in new packaging that has not been opened prior to your procedure.

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