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New HIV case linked to ‘vampire facial’ at shuttered New Mexico spa

<i>KOAT/FILE</i><br/>The New Mexico Department of Health is reaching out to former clients of VIP Beauty Salon and Spa
The New Mexico Department of Health is reaching out to former clients of VIP Beauty Salon and Spa

By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

(CNN) — A new HIV case has been linked to a “vampire facial” at an Albuquerque spa that closed in 2018, the New Mexico Department of Health said this week.

The only HIV risk that the 2023 patient reported was a “vampire facial” at VIP Beauty Salon and Spa in 2018. Two cases of HIV were previously linked to injection-related procedures at the spa in 2019, the department said.

The Department of Health said it has reopened its investigation into the spa and is recommending former clients who received injection-related services – including vampire facials or Botox – be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

As part of the earlier investigation, the state health department provided testing to more than 100 spa clients. Former clients should be retested even if they previously tested negative, the department said on Wednesday.

“It’s very important that we spread the word and remind people who received any kind of injection-related to services provided at the VIP Spa to come in for free and confidential testing,” Dr. Laura Parajon, Department of Health deputy secretary, said in a news release.

The spa closed in 2018 after a state inspection found unsafe practices that could spread blood-borne infections to clients.

As of July 5, the Department of Health identified additional HIV infections “with direct or indirect connection with services provided at the VIP Spa,” it said, although it did not specify how many.

In June 2022, the owner of the spa pleaded guilty to five felony counts of practicing medicine without a license, the Department of Health said this week.

A vampire facial, also known as a plasma-rich protein facial, involves injecting plasma into the skin on your face using a tool called a micro-needling pen. That plasma typically comes from your own blood. Infections could occur if micro-needling tips or syringes were reused, or if another patient’s blood was used to perform the facial, for example.

CNN’s Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.

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