In Brief

'Vampire Facial' at New Mexico Spa Likely Exposed 2 People to HIV

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Last September, officials began investigating a spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for potentially exposing its clients to blood-borne infections through their "vampire" facials and other spa treatments.

Now, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has confirmed that two clients of the VIP Spa contracted the "same" HIV virus, according to a statement. This finding "increas[es] the likelihood" that the infections resulted from spa treatments involving needles, officials said.

One such treatment that the spa offered is the so-called vampire facial, which involves smearing a person's own blood across his or her face after the skin has been sanded down or pricked with tiny needles. The alleged purpose of the facial is to improve skin health and reduce wrinkles and sun damage.

The investigation didn't find any other potential routes through which the two patients could've been infected, officials said. [7 Beauty Trends That Are Bad for Your Health]

The VIP Spa closed down last September after an inspection found that it engaged in practices that could have spread blood-borne infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. It's not clear exactly what these practices were, or what specific treatment could have led to the infections.

However, one of the primary ways to spread a blood-borne infection like HIV is through improper handling of needles, Live Science reported in September. The NMDOH is offering free and confidential testing for HIV and hepatitis B and C for any clients of the spa who received injections, including vampire facials.

Originally published on Live Science.

Yasemin Saplakoglu
Staff Writer

Yasemin is a staff writer at Live Science, covering health, neuroscience and biology. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Science and the San Jose Mercury News. She has a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Connecticut and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.