Two people contract HIV following procedures at New Mexico health spa
Two people who received facial injections from the same spa have been infected with HIV, New Mexico health officials announced this week.
The VIP Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which shut down last year, is under scrutiny - with former customers now being urged to undergo testing for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
The establishment offered 'vampire facials', a procedure where the client’s own blood is injected into the face to replenish the skin. It was closed in September 2018 after a health department inspection revealed that the practices "could potentially spread blood-borne infections".
A spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), said the two clients with positive results had "injection-related procedures" at the spa between May and September 2018.
Both customers 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."
Kathy Kunkel, the department’s cabinet secretary added: "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. Testing is important for everyone as there are effective treatments for HIV and many hepatitis infections."
Two sites are currently offering VIP Spa customers free testing for the viruses.
The vampire facial, otherwise know as a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) facial, involves drawing blood from a patient before extracting the plasma and platelets which are then re-injected into the face.
According to some beauticians, the platelet-rich blood helps boost skin growth and smooth out wrinkles. However, while certain studies have shown it to be effective, other researchers have denied it offers positive results.
Many people will recognise the contentious treatment from its appearance on Kim and Kourtney Take Miami.
A segment on the reality TV show saw Kim Kardashian test out the beauty procedure, but according to a post on her website, the mother-of-three later regretted getting the facial treatment.
After signing up to do it, the 38-year-old learned she was pregnant, meaning she couldn't use the numbing cream or painkiller before the treatment as doctors recommended.
"It was really rough and painful for me. It was honestly the most painful thing ever! It's the one treatment that I'll never do again," she wrote.
Other celebrities including Bar Refaeli and Keri Maguire have also tried the controversial treatment.