People who received a “vampire” facial at a now-shuttered spa in New Mexico are being encouraged to get tested for blood-borne infections, including HIV. 

What is a vampire facial?

Vampire facials are also known as platelet-rich plasma facials. 

The treatment involves drawing blood from a customer’s arm, extracting the plasma and injecting into the same person’s face. 

Providers say the process can rejuvenate a person’s skin. The Cleveland Clinic, however, notes that there’s “limited research on whether vampire facials are actually effective.”

Health concerns in New Mexico

In 2018, VIP Spa in Albuquerque was closed after an inspection by the state health department. Inspectors said they identified practices that could potentially spread blood-borne illnesses, including HIV and hepatitis. The practices included not properly cleaning, storing and labeling syringes.

The owner was charged with practicing medicine without a license. She was sentenced in 2022 to more than three years in prison after at least two people tested positive for HIV. 

Why should people be tested now?

The health department reports that another person who received a vampire facial at VIP Spa in 2018 just learned they have HIV.

That prompted officials to reopen their investigation, in which they discovered “additional HIV infections with direct or indirect connection with services provided at the VIP Spa.”

A total of five people with links to the spa have tested positive for HIV, a representative from the health department confirmed to Scripps News on Wednesday. 

The department is hosting free blood testing events this month for former patients of VIP Spa. People who received any type of injectable services are encouraged to get tested. 

Former VIP Spa customers can contact the health department at 505-479-2164 with questions.

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