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After Bloody 'Vampire' Facial, a Frightening Diagnosis

Health officials: 2 customers of NM day spa are HIV-positive after 'injection-related procedures'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2019 7:23 AM CDT
Under the microneedle.   (Getty Images/Vagengeym_Elena)

(Newser) – In September, a day spa in Albuquerque, NM, suddenly shuttered, along with an explainer from state health officials that they'd identified practices at the spa "that could potentially spread blood-borne infections." Now, the New Mexico Department of Health says two former customers of VIP Spa who received "injection-related procedures" have been diagnosed as HIV-positive, and they fear others may soon come forward with the same diagnosis, as well as possibly hepatitis B or C, NBC News reports. Although the state DOH release doesn't specify what procedure is being looked at as being responsible, KOB 4 says the DOH got involved after one client became infected after receiving a plasma-rich protein facial, or "vampire" facial. In this procedure, plasma is taken from a customer, usually by drawing blood, then injected into the face using what's called a microneedling pen, per CNN.

BuzzFeed notes Kim Kardashian helped draw attention to the procedure with a 2013 Instagram post showing her with a blood-spattered face. It can be a safe procedure, but it can lead to infections if pen tips or syringes are unsterilized or used more than once; infection could also result if a customer receives plasma from another customer. The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department says VIP Spa didn't have someone on site who was licensed to draw blood, per KOAT. The infected New Mexico clients underwent their procedures at the spa between May and September last year, health officials say, adding that more than 100 former clients have already been tested. The state DOH is now asking any other ex-customers to come in to one of two sites for free and confidential testing. (Read more New Mexico stories.)

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