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"Vampire facials" at New Mexico spa linked to two HIV cases

HIV cases linked to New Mexico spa

Santa Fe, N.M. — New Mexico health officials say two people who received facial injections from the same spa are infected with HIV. The non-surgical procedure involves injecting the client's own blood into their face using micro needles.

The New Mexico Department of Health said in a news release Monday that two clients of VIP Spa in Albuquerque who received "vampire facials" last year were recently diagnosed with the same HIV strain. Officials said the two people patronized the spa between May and September of 2018.

"Additional laboratory testing on specimens from the two clients indicates recent infection with the same HIV virus — increasing the likelihood that the two HIV infections may have resulted from a procedure at the VIP spa," the agency said in a statement.

VIP Spa shuttered last September after state agencies found issues with how needles were handled and disposed. An official told KRQE-TV that the owner of VIP Spa lacked the proper licensing. The station found that the building that once housed the business now appears completely empty.

The New Mexico Department of Health began offering free HIV and hepatitis B and C testing shortly after VIP Spa's shuttering, as well as counseling. More than 100 people have already been tested, according to the agency.

Vampire facials gained popularity after Kim Kardashian West posted an Instagram photo of herself after undergoing the facial in 2013 at a different spa facility. She has since come out against the procedure.

"It was really rough and painful for me. It was honestly the most painful thing ever! It's the one treatment that I'll never do again," Kardashian West wrote on her website in 2014, according to Allure.

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