A poignant digital illustration of a dimly-lit, luxurious spa room with three worried-looking women sitting side by side, receiving facial treatments, surrounded by medical equipment hinting at the pr

Three women contract HIV following ‘vampire facial’ treatments in New Mexico, reports The Guardian.

Overview of the Incident

In a recent alarming healthcare incident, three women in New Mexico contracted HIV after undergoing ‘vampire facial’ treatments. This case, highlighted in a report by The Guardian, raises significant concerns about the safety and regulations surrounding aesthetic medical procedures.

What is a Vampire Facial?

A ‘vampire facial’ is a form of skin treatment that involves microneedling—the procedure of pricking the skin with small sterilized needles—and the application of a gel-like substance made from the patient’s own blood. The treatment is thought to stimulate DNA repair and boost collagen growth, resulting in rejuvenated skin. Popular among celebrities and influencers, this treatment has gained significant attention on social media.

Investigation and Findings

The New Mexico Department of Health launched an investigation after the patients tested positive for HIV following their treatments at a now-closed spa in Albuquerque. Upon a close examination of the spa’s practices, health officials identified issues with the handling and storage of needles. It was found that the spa failed to properly sterilize equipment, significantly increasing the risk of cross-contamination among clients.

Health Department’s Response

The New Mexico Department of Health has since issued warnings to individuals who received any injection-related service at the facility, advising them to undergo testing for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. The health authority emphasized the importance of adhering to strict sterilization processes and urged the public to verify the credentials and sanitary practices of any establishment offering similar treatments.

Implications for Public Health

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the risks associated with invasive skincare treatments, especially when performed in non-medical settings. It underscores the need for stricter regulation and oversight of aesthetic procedures, particularly those involving needles and blood products.

Guidelines for Safe Practice

To ensure safety in similar aesthetic procedures, health experts recommend the following guidelines:

  • Only use licensed medical professionals to perform any procedure involving blood or injections.
  • Verify that all equipment is fully sterilized and opened from a sealed package before use.
  • Ask about the provider’s infection control practices, certification, and training.
  • Ensure the establishment undergoes regular inspections and complies with all local health regulations.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

In response to the cases in New Mexico, there may be possible legal actions against the spa for negligence and breach of duty of care. The impacted individuals might seek compensation for their medical costs, emotional distress, and other damages linked to the infection.

The Ethical Duty of Care Providers

Medical aesthetics providers hold an ethical responsibility to ensure the well-being of their clients by adhering to the highest standards of practice. This includes proper training, certification, and an uncompromised commitment to client safety.


This unfortunate incident in New Mexico is a critical reminder of the risks associated with aesthetic treatments that involve blood handling. It highlights the urgent need for enhanced regulatory measures, better consumer awareness, and strict adherence to health and safety protocols by practitioners. As the popularity of such treatments continues to grow, ensuring the safety of these procedures must be a foremost priority for healthcare providers and regulatory bodies alike.


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