New Mexico AG issues health warning after ‘vampire facial’ clients contract HIV at spa

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New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has issued a consumer health warning concerning “vampire facials” after two former patients from an Albuquerque spa tested positive for HIV.

“I am highly concerned that these procedures are not being regulated at the State and Federal level and am announcing a criminal investigation into this incident,” said Balderas in a release by his office.

“In addition, I am calling for action by the FDA and State Attorneys General across the nation. We cannot allow more people to fall victim.”

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Banderas’ health warning, issued on Thursday, comes just over a month after the New Mexico Department of Health encouraged clients of the VIP Spa in Albuquerque to get tested for HIV after two former patients tested positive for the virus following “injection-related” procedures.

“The likelihood that these [cases] resulted from a procedure at the spa are high,” Dr. Tierney Murphy of the health department stated at the time, KRQE reported.

As of late April, over 130 former clients had gone in for testing.

“I am highly concerned that these procedures are not being regulated at the State and Federal level and am announcing a criminal investigation into this incident.”

— New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

“Vampire facials,” or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapies, can only be carried out by licensed nurses or physicians, the attorney general reiterated.

Maria Ruiz, the owner of the VIP Spa, held a cosmetologist’s license, which is not valid for medical procedures, KOAT reported.

“That’s way beyond her scope of practice as an aesthetician, so that would not be something that we would even license,” Kathy Ortiz, the deputy director for Boards and Commissions, told KRQE in APril. “First off, she didn’t have a license, so that was basically why we were able to close the establishment.”

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While some believe the “vampire facial” can be effective, scientific studies have yet to prove long-lasting effects of the procedure, which involves extracting platelets from a client’s blood and injected those platelets back into the patient’s face through micro-needling. Doctors also deem the procedure itself relatively safe, but there’s always risk when it comes to handling blood.

Vampire facials, officially known as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapies, involves extracting platelets from a client’s blood and injected those platelets back into the patient’s face through micro-needling for what some believe to be rejuvenative purposes.

Vampire facials, officially known as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapies, involves extracting platelets from a client’s blood and injected those platelets back into the patient’s face through micro-needling for what some believe to be rejuvenative purposes.
(iStock)

“The risk of infection using blood products is greater than using sterile injectibles,” New York City-based plastic surgeon Michelle Copeland, M.D., previously told Fox News. “It’s not a closed syringe, so there is a risk when transferring the product from one tube to another.”

Urging anyone in New Mexico who believes they may have received a vampire facial from an unlicensed cosmetologist, or believe they were exposed to a communicable disease, to contact the attorney general’s office.

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Fox News’ Katherine Lam contributed to this report.

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