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The Truth Behind ‘Vampire Facials’: A Shocking HIV Outbreak

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In recent years, a trendy cosmetic procedure known as the “vampire facial” has gained popularity among individuals seeking a more youthful appearance. However, a shocking HIV outbreak in New Mexico has shed light on the potential dangers associated with this treatment. At least three women have been diagnosed with HIV after receiving vampire facials at an unlicensed spa, marking the first known cases of the virus being transmitted during a cosmetic injection procedure. This article delves into the details of the outbreak, the procedure itself, and the importance of cautious decision-making when it comes to cosmetic treatments.

At least 3 women who got “vampire facials” in New Mexico were infected with H.I.V.

Understanding Vampire Facials

A vampire facial, also known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) microneedling, involves drawing a patient’s blood and separating the platelets from the rest of the blood components. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the patient’s face using microneedles, with the aim of rejuvenating the skin and reducing pore size and fine lines. This procedure has garnered attention from celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian, who have promoted its supposed benefits. However, the recent HIV outbreak has raised concerns about the safety and sanitation practices surrounding vampire facials.

The Unlicensed Spa and the HIV Outbreak

The HIV outbreak occurred at an unlicensed spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first case came to light in 2018 when a woman tested positive for HIV after receiving a vampire facial at the spa. This initial discovery prompted further investigation by health officials, leading to the identification of additional cases linked to the same facility. The spa, known as VIP Spa, was found to have unsanitary conditions, including unwrapped syringes, unlabeled tubes of blood, and other medical injectables stored alongside food in the kitchen refrigerator.

The Victims and the Investigation

The three women diagnosed with HIV after receiving vampire facials at the unlicensed spa were middle-aged individuals with no known risk factors for acquiring the infection. Their infections were identified at different stages, with one woman testing positive during routine life insurance tests, another being diagnosed with early-stage HIV, and the third being hospitalized with an AIDS-related illness. The severity of their infections indicated that they had been infected prior to undergoing the vampire facial procedure.

As a result of the investigation, the owner of VIP Spa, Maria de Lourdes Ramos De Ruiz, was charged with practicing medicine without a license and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison. The incident highlighted the importance of proper infection control practices at facilities offering cosmetic injection services. It also emphasized the need for licensing and regulation in the cosmetic industry to ensure the safety of patients.

Risks and Safety Precautions

While the HIV outbreak associated with vampire facials is an alarming case, it is crucial to note that this is an isolated incident. However, it serves as a reminder that individuals considering cosmetic procedures should exercise caution and make informed decisions. When opting for any cosmetic treatment, it is essential to choose a licensed and reputable provider who follows strict sanitation protocols. Additionally, patients should inquire about the source and quality of any products used during the procedure.

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The Importance of Licensing and Regulation

The unlicensed status of the spa where the HIV outbreak occurred highlights the need for comprehensive regulation in the cosmetic industry. Licensing ensures that practitioners adhere to specific standards and guidelines, promoting the safety and well-being of patients. It also allows for proper oversight and accountability, reducing the risk of incidents like the one that took place at VIP Spa.

Celebrity Endorsements and Influence

Celebrity endorsements of cosmetic procedures, including vampire facials, can contribute to their popularity and visibility. However, it is crucial to approach these endorsements with a critical mindset. Celebrities may not always possess the necessary expertise or knowledge to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a particular treatment. It is wise to consult trusted medical professionals and conduct thorough research before undergoing any cosmetic procedure.

The Future of Cosmetic Procedures

The HIV outbreak associated with vampire facials has sparked discussions about the regulation and safety of cosmetic procedures. It serves as a reminder that advancements in the field of aesthetics should always prioritize patient safety. As the cosmetic industry continues to evolve, it is essential for practitioners, regulators, and patients to work together to establish and enforce robust safety protocols.


The HIV outbreak linked to vampire facials at an unlicensed spa in New Mexico has exposed the potential risks associated with cosmetic procedures. It serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of careful consideration and thorough research before undergoing any treatment. Patients should prioritize their safety by choosing licensed practitioners and ensuring proper infection control measures. The incident also underscores the need for stringent regulation and oversight within the cosmetic industry to protect the well-being of consumers. By being informed and proactive, individuals can make empowered choices that prioritize their health and minimize potential risks associated with cosmetic procedures.


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