Two cases of HIV contracted from ‘vampire facials’ reported in US

According to CNN, health officials are investigating two cases of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, among clients who received injection-related procedures, including ‘vampire facials’, at an Albuquerque spa.

The New Mexico Department of Health announced on 29 April that laboratory tests indicated that the two clients were infected with the same virus, increasing the likelihood that the infections may have resulted from a procedure at the spa.

Now the health department there is offering free and confidential testing for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C for any clients who received injection-related procedures at VIP Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, between May and September 2018.

NBC News says the two people were infected at VIP Spa in Albuquerque between May and September 2018, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. VIP Spa closed on 7 September last year after state investigators ‘identified practices that could potentially spread blood-borne infections, such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C to clients,’ according to the state health department.

According to CNN, a ‘vampire facial’, also known as a plasma-rich protein facial, involves injecting nutrient-rich plasma into the skin on the face using a tool called a micro-needling pen. That plasma typically comes from the patient’s own blood.

When done safely and properly, a ‘vampire facial’ should not expose clients to any such blood-borne infections and is promoted to rejuvenate the face so the skin looks younger, experts say. Yet if the micro-needling pen or any other equipment is not properly disposed of or sterilized between facials, that could expose patients to potential blood-borne infections, as what was seen in New Mexico.

The infections came via ‘injection related procedures,’ state regulators said in a statement. The health department did not elaborate.

Infections could occur if micro-needling tips or syringes were reused, or if another patient’s blood was used to perform the facial, for instance.

Patients interested in vampire facials are advised to make sure they see practitioners opening new syringes to draw blood, as well as changing the micro-needling pen before performing the procedure. AMP