A New Mexico Spa Which Administers ‘Vampire Facials’ May Have Exposed Clients To HIV

Published September 14, 2018
Published September 14, 2018

The state's health department urges anyone who has received an injection-related treatment from VIP Spa, Albuquerque, to get tested as soon as possible.

Vampire Facial Feat


Health officials in New Mexico are recommending that clients who have received a “vampire facial” get tested for HIV and other blood-borne infections after one client contracted an infection that may have been caused by the procedure.

VIP Spa in Albuquerque shuttered its doors and deleted their social media accounts not long after the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, Barbers and Cosmetologists Board, issued a cease and desist letter to the facility. This followed a Sept. 7 investigation which found that the spa did not follow certain health precautions.

The so-called “vampire facial” was popularized by Kim Kardashian in an E! reality series spinoff of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The spa procedure, according to Health, involves removing the client’s own blood, isolating it, and reinjecting the blood into the face through microneedling or microdermabrasion.

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) issued a statement on Sept. 11 by Lynn Gallagher, the NMDOH Cabinet Secretary:

“It is very important that anyone who received a vampire facial or other injection-related services 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.”

These clients should get tested for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, as the investigation showed that the spa operated in such a way “that could potentially spread blood-borne infections,” such as the aforementioned.

When the “vampire facial” spa treatment is done correctly, it should not spread any type of disease. This indicates that VIP Spa may have been administering the facial without taking the proper sanitary precautions with the tools used in the procedure. Failing to do so runs the risk of spreading infections between clients.

“This never ever should have happened in the first place,” Dr. Kenneth Mark, an assistant clinical professor at NYU Langone Health, said to CNN. “As long as proper protocols are followed and there is no sharing of equipment for patients, then it should not be an issue.”

The “vampire facial” is said to make the skin look supple and refreshed, due to the proteins from platelet-rich plasma found in blood. This type of skin treatment is commonly referred to as “PRP” (patent-rich plasma) procedures, and are administered in spas nationwide.

“[The PRP] then stimulates collagen, new blood supply and vessels, and even hair follicles,” New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Bruce E. Katz said to Health.

It’s unclear whether the client that tested positive for an infection is a direct result of receiving the injection treatment from VIP Spa, but health officials took the necessary measures to shut down the spa’s operations without potentially implicating any more clients while they continue their investigation.

Next, check out these vintage health ads that give the worst health advice imaginable. Then, read about research on having sex with ‘Westworld’ style robots and what they can do for your health. 

Bernadette Deron
Bernadette is a digital media producer, writer, and a proud native New Yorker.