Albuquerque spa clients contract HIV following 'vampire facial', health dept urges all customers to get tested
The New Mexico Department of Health found two cases of HIV among clients of a now-closed Albuquerque spa who received injection-related procedures. Now, the department is urging all customers who visited the spa to avail a free round of testing for the virus.
Social media users, meanwhile, had slammed the spa for the procedures. "It could affect your whole life, one simple decision, and it changes everything, so it is scary," said Kassie Baca, one of the commenters.
The Department of Health is currently investigating the two cases among VIP spa clients who received a "vampire facial" sometime between May and September 2018, according to a release, stated a KOAT7 report.
"This is wrong, for people to try to alter their face and then for the clinic to do that. That's bad," said Wendy Guzman, another user online.
An inspection conducted in September 2018 found practices at the VIP spa that had the potential to spread blood-borne diseases including HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C to their customers.
Another online user, Mary Clark, slammed the spa and said: "Why would anybody trust some random spa person to draw blood from their face? It is horrifying."
The department believes that the two HIV infections may have resulted from a procedure at the VIP spa after additional laboratory testing on specimens from the two clients indicated recent infection with the same HIV virus.
People should always ensure they are visiting a licensed medical facility if they have to get a vampire facial, according to Dr. Dean Bair, the medical director at Bair Medical Spa.
"Check the certification. Make sure they are using proper technique," Bair said. "Watch how people handle the blood. If it looks like it's shaky, it's probably shaky."
The doctor added that clients should check if the facility disposes of the blood and contaminated supplies with utmost care.
During a vampire facial procedure, a small amount of a client's blood is drawn and then spun to extract the plasma, which is subsequently injected into the face with a syringe.
However, the owner of the VIP Spa did not have a licensed professional to draw blood, according to the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, who said only a medical professional is trained to do that.
"I think it's absolutely paramount to make sure that that is occurring. This is just the worst example of what can go wrong if you don't," Bair said.
Former customers at the spa can avail free HIV testing at the South Valley Health Commons, located at 2001 El Centro Familiar SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105 on Tuesdays from 8 am to 5 pm (closed from 12-1 pm); and Casa de Salud Family Medical Office located at 1608 Isleta Blvd SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105 on Thursdays from 8 am to 7 pm.