Vampire facials linked to two cases of HIV at a spa in New Mexico

May 7, 2019

Would you shed blood for better skin? Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian have popularized what is known as the Vampire Facial—a costly and creepy procedure that involves extracting platelet-rich plasma from one part of your body and injecting it back into your face with a needle.

It’s not for those who lack strong stomachs—but the “new wrinkle’ in dermatology has been said to promote collagen growth and healthier skin cells; and to help erase acne and scars.

There’s just one very big drawback—discovered recently: In addition to increasing the smoothness and elasticity of the skin, it also may increase a patient’s odds of getting a blood-borne infection, Women’s Health reports.

On April 29—eight months after shutting down the VIP Spa in New Mexico for unsanitary practices—the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) called for any clients who received the trendy vampire facial between May and September of 2018 to get tested for blood-borne infections; including HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

The NMDOH currently is investigating two cases in which former clients tested positive for the same strain of HIV after receiving the facial. And it has offered any former VIP Spa clients who think they may be at risk free testing provided by the department.

The VIP Spa closed on September 7, 2018,after an inspection by the NMDOH and the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, Barbers and Cosmetologists Board.

“While over 100 VIP Spa clients have already been tested, NMDOH is reaching out to ensure that testing and counseling services are available for individuals who received injection-related services at the VIP Spa,” said Kathy Kunkel, NMDOH Cabinet Secretary. “Testing is important for everyone, as there are effective treatments for HIV and many hepatitis infections.”

Despite the risks, chances are that some people and professionals will still keep the procedure on their calendars. “We use it to treat acne, acne scarring, melasma, surgical scars, and fine wrinkles and lines,” Gary Goldenberg, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospitalpreviously told Women’s Health. And some people even use it to promote hair growth.

Whatever their reasons for getting the facial, exposure to infection was definitely never on anyone’s list.

Research contact: @WomensHealthMag

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