As many as 59 women were exposed to HIV infection over ‘vampire facials’ and Botox injections, health officials say

News & Politics

A report warned that Botox injections and “vampire facials” have led to some women being infected with HIV because of unsanitary conditions at a spa in New Mexico.

“This investigation is the first to associate HIV transmission with nonsterile cosmetic injection services,” read a statement from the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Three women tested positive for HIV after receiving the novel cosmetic operations. The report found that they were infected despite not having any other HIV risk factors and determined that the operations were to blame.

Vampire facials involve blood being drawn from the client’s arm and platelets being removed from the blood and injected into the patients with microneedles. The process is intended to rejuvenate the skin and clear away acne and wrinkles.

The CDC report said as many as 59 clients could have been exposed to HIV through the facials and Botox injections at a business in Albuquerque that was unlicensed and didn’t use appropriate safety measures.

While the report did not name the clinic, KRQE-TV reported that VIP Spa owner Maria Ramos de Ruiz pleaded guilty to several felony counts of practicing without a license in 2022 and was sentenced to serve three and a half years in prison. The New Mexico Department of Health also shut down her spa in 2018 after finding unlabeled blood tubes on a kitchen counter and injectables stored in a kitchen refrigerator next to food.

De Ruiz is currently incarcerated at Springer Correctional Center.

In addition to the three HIV positive cases, two other infections were linked to the clinic through “direct or indirect connection with services provided at the VIP Spa,” said a department spokesperson.

A new case of HIV infection linked to the clinic prompted the department to tell past clients to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, even if they had previously tested negative.

“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,” said Dr. Laura Parajon, the deputy secretary of the health department.

The CDC warns people against seeking treatments and operations at unlicensed spa facilities.

Here’s a news report about the report:

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