Image of a woman receiving a microneedling treatment

HIV After Vampire Facial in New Mexico – an Update

I want to share an important update regarding a recent health concern involving vampire facials, a popular cosmetic procedure that utilizes a patient’s own blood to rejuvenate the skin. Reports have surfaced indicating that three women who received vampire facials at a medical spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have tested positive for HIV. This news is deeply troubling and underscores the importance of ensuring the safety and efficacy of all cosmetic procedures.

Vampire facials, also known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) facials, have gained popularity in recent years due to their promise of improving skin texture, tone, and overall appearance. The procedure involves drawing a small amount of a patient’s blood and processing it to concentrate the platelets.  This platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the skin using a microneedling device.

While vampire facials are generally considered safe and effective when performed by qualified professionals using sterile techniques, this incident highlights the potential risks associated with any procedure involving blood.  The treatments received by the three women took placed at a medical spa that was not in a doctor’s office.  Investigators subsequently found unlabeled tubes of blood in the facility’s kitchen refrigerator next to food. The woman who did the treatments was not licensed to do them.  She subsequently pleaded guilty to practicing medicine without a license and was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.

Treatments like microneedling, Botox, and facial filler injections can provide wonderful results.  There are a lot of people selling and doing these treatments, however.  I am a firm believer in patients knowing who is injecting what, and the qualifications of the injector.   If you are receiving these types of treatments, particularly at a spa located in a shopping area or strip mall, make sure you know who your injector is.  Ask about the medical director of the spa.  If there is no medical director, the spa is likely operating without a license.  Sometimes a medical director is located several hundred miles away, possibly even in another state.  Medical spas located outside of a physician’s office may make it hard to find out this information.

As a plastic surgeon, ensuring patient safety is a top priority. I urge anyone considering cosmetic procedures, including vampire facials, to do their due diligence in selecting a qualified and experienced provider. Additionally, it is important to discuss any concerns or questions with the person who will be providing the service before undergoing any treatment.

If you have any questions or concerns about vampire facials or any other cosmetic procedure, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Your health and well-being are of the utmost importance.

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