‘Vampire facial’ spa-goers urged to get HIV tests after two clients diagnosed with virus

Health department previously warned business ‘could ... spread blood-borne infections’

Zamira Rahim
Tuesday 30 April 2019 09:59 BST
The spa was closed in September 2018.
The spa was closed in September 2018. (Screenshot/YouTube/KRQE)

A spa which offered “vampire facials” to customers, before being shut down last year, is under further scrutiny after two of its clients tested positive for HIV.

Customers of the VIP Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico are now being urged to undergo testing for HIV, hepatitis B and C.

The two people with positive results had “injection-related procedures” at the spa between May and September 2018, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), said.

Both clients recently contracted the same strain of the HIV virus, though it is not certain that their spa treatments were responsible.

“The NMDOH investigation has not identified potential exposures for HIV transmission other than the injection related procedures at the VIP Spa,” a health department spokesperson said.

“Additional laboratory testing on specimens from the two clients indicates recent infection with the same HIV virus – increasing the likelihood that the two HIV infections may have resulted from a procedure at the VIP spa”.

“While over 100 VIP Spa clients have already been tested, NMDOH is reaching out to ensure that testing and counselling services are available for individuals who received injection related services at the VIP Spa,” said Kathy Kunkel, the department’s cabinet secretary.

“Testing is important for everyone as there are effective treatments for HIV and many hepatitis infections.”

Two sites are offering VIP Spa customers free testing for the viruses.

The “vampire facial” is otherwise known as a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) facial.

“It essentially involves taking ... blood from a patient, processing it in a centrifuge to extract the plasma – which contains platelets and growth factors – and then re-injecting it into the face,” Dr Darren McKeown previously told The Independent.

Some claim that the controversial beauty procedure rejuvenates the skin, although this has been contested.

“Some studies have shown it to be effective, whilst others have shown it to have no effect whatsoever,” Mr McKeown said.

The contentious facial procedure has been featured on Kim and Kourtney Take Miami, a reality television show featuring Kim Kardashian.

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Ms Kardashian later admitted that she regretted having had the beauty treatment, which she described as “rough” and “painful”.

Other celebrities, such as the model Bar Refaeli and reality show contestant Keira Maguire have posted images on social media, displaying their faces as they undergo the procedure.

The VIP Spa was closed in September 2018, after a health department inspection revealed practices that “could potentially spread blood-borne infections”.

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