“Vampire facials” and HIV infection: A wake-up call for spa-goers

It was recently reported that a spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico has reported multiple cases of HIV infection among its visitors. The VIP Spa, which has become well known for treatments such as “vampire facials,” is currently under investigation by the New Mexico Department of Health. The department is urging anyone who has received injection services at this spa to get tested, as there are concerns that more cases may go undiagnosed.

The investigation began in 2018 when a cluster of HIV cases were found among former VIP Spa clients. While extensive testing and outreach was conducted at the time, the recent HIV case raised concerns about the possibility of more undiagnosed cases. Therefore, the department decided to reopen the investigation and further investigate the cases associated with the closed spa.

The owner of VIP Spa has already pleaded guilty to five felony charges related to practicing medicine without a license. This highlights the importance of medical procedures being performed by licensed professionals in regulated facilities. The risks associated with receiving injections from unqualified professionals cannot be overemphasized.

One of the treatments offered at VIP Spa that has garnered a lot of attention is the “vampire facial”. This procedure, also known as a “blood elevator” or “vampire facelift,” involves taking blood from the client’s arm and separating it in a centrifuge to obtain platelets. These platelets are then injected into the skin using a syringe or microneedling machine.

Proponents of “vampire” facials claim that they can reduce wrinkles, improve skin texture, and give the skin a more youthful appearance. However, scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited. A small study has shown some improvement in patients’ skin compared to sterile saline injections, but more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of this procedure.

While the “vampire facial” procedure itself may not pose significant risks, the risks are related to needle cleanliness and working with blood. The American Academy of Dermatology emphasizes the importance of maintaining sterility when working with blood to prevent infections. It is critical for facilities offering these procedures to follow strict protocols to ensure client safety. Mistakes, such as accidentally injecting someone else’s blood, can lead to serious illness.

Recent cases of HIV infections associated with VIP Spas are a wake-up call for spa-goers to prioritize their safety and well-being. Reputable facilities that adhere to good medical practices should be researched and selected.

Making sure that procedures are performed by licensed professionals in regulated facilities is important to minimize the risk of infections and other complications.The New Mexico Department of Health is urging anyone who has received injections at VIP Spa in Albuquerque to undergo free and confidential testing. By taking proactive steps, people can protect their health and contribute to preventing further transmission of HIV and other infections.

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