Two clients of a now-closed New Mexico spa have tested positive for HIV, prompting the state health department to continue its push for previous clients to get tested for HIV and hepatitis.
The New Mexico Department of Health said in a statement Monday it is currently investigating the two cases of infection among clients who had injection procedures done at the VIP Spa in Albuquerque between May and September 2018.
Among the injection procedures offered by VIP was the vampire facial, which pulls, then re-inserts the client’s own blood into their face with micro-needling to refresh skin.
Kim Kardashian famously got one in 2013, but said it was “really rough and painful,” as she had just learned she was pregnant, and was therefore unable to get a numbing cream or pain killer beforehand.
“Additional laboratory testing on specimens from the two clients indicates recent infection with the same HIV virus – increasing the likelihood that the two HIV infections may have resulted from a procedure at the VIP spa,” the statement read.
The NMDOH previously said in September that one person had developed an infection, and anyone who received an injection procedure should get tested.
Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel said Monday that more than 100 clients of the spa have already been tested, but that the department wanted to ensure everyone was aware of possibility of infection.
VIP Spa was shut down by the NMDOH in September after an investigation found unsafe practices that could potentially spread blood-borne infections like HIV, and hepatitis B and C.
“First off, she didn’t have a license, so that was basically why we were able to close the establishment,” Kathy Ortiz, Deputy Director for Boards and Commissions, told KRQE of the aesthetician running the business.
Owner Luly Ruiz told KOAT News in September that she was cooperating with the health department, but only used disposable needles, and took care to open each new needle in front of her client.
“I want everybody to be sure, everybody to be happy, and to know they don’t have anything,” she said.
NMDOH epidemiologist Dr. Michael Landen, however, told the outlet the health department was alarmed by how VIP stored, handled and disposed of needles.
“That’s concerning, because if needles aren’t handled appropriately, you could potentially increase the risk of a blood-borne infection,” he said.
Clients can get tested for free at South Valley Health Commons and Casa de Salud Family Medical Office, both in Albuquerque.
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