After a client at an Albuquerque, NM spa got an infection, health officials in the state have urged anyone who got a "vampire facial" at the spa to get tested for HIV and other blood-borne infections, including hepatitis B and hepatitis B.
"It is very important that anyone who received a vampire facial or other injection related service at the VIP Spa in May or June of 2018 come to the Midtown Public Health Office for free and confidential lab testing and counseling," Lynn Gallagher, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health, said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Vampire facials, also known as the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) facial, involve drawing blood from your arm, separating the platelets, and then injecting them into your skin via micro-needling. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, PRP is also meant to help treat sprained knees and chronic tendon injuries.
As you can probably tell the vampire facial — which is supposed to boost healthy skin cells — is not for the faint of heart. (Kim Kardashian famously wept through her own facial on an episode of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami and later said it's the one treatment she'd never do again).
When done properly, the vampire facial is safe, but if clinics don't sterilize the micro-needling pen or dispose of it between facials, for example, that might expose patients to infections.
In this particular case, the New Mexico Department of Health's statement says that VIP spa has been shut down for further investigation because "practices were identified at the spa that could potentially spread blood-borne infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C to clients." And Michael Landen, MD, epidemiologist at the New Mexico Department of Health, told local news network KOAT that upon inspection, he was concerned with the way the spa stored, handled, and disposed of needles.
While it's not exactly clear how the needles at VIP were used, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C can be spread through needlestick and other sharp injuries, mucous membrane, and skin exposures.
"That's concerning, because if needles aren't handled appropriately, you could potentially increase the risk of a blood-borne infection," Dr. Landen told KOAT.