'Vampire facial' puts New Mexico spa clients at risk of HIV, hepatitis

The New Mexico Department of Health is urging individuals who received a "vampire facial" treatment at Albuquerque, N.M.-based VIP Spa to undergo HIV and hepatitis B and C testing after discovering sterilization issues at the facility.

The health department investigated the spa after being tipped off by a client who "developed an infection that may have resulted from a procedure performed by the VIP Spa," according to NMDOH.

Upon their inspection, officials found problems with needle storage, handling and disposal at the spa that could spread bloodborne pathogens to clients. The health department is offering free HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C testing to individuals who received any type of injection-related service at the spa between May and June 2018.

While the department is still early in its investigation, no other infections have been identified, a NMDOH spokesperson told NPR .

The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department said the spa owner, Luly Ruiz, does not have the proper license to perform the vampire facial procedure.

Ms. Ruiz stood by the treatment and said she only uses disposable needles for the facials. "I open them in front of my clients every time they come, " she told KOAT-TV. Ms. Ruiz said she is cooperating with state officials and encourages concerned clients to get tested.

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