'Vampire' facial would have infected 3 women in the US with HIV. This we know

Three women those who were diagnosed HIV after undergoing “vampire facials” at an unauthorized New Mexico medical spa would be the first documented cases of people contracting the virus through a cosmetic procedure with needlesreported US health authorities.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its Morbidity and Mortality Report that an investigation of the clinic conducted between 2018 and 2023 revealed that apparently disposable equipment intended for single use was reused.

Although the transmission of HIV through contaminated blood through non-sterile injections is a well-known risk, the report says this is the first documented case of probable infections from cosmetic services.

What are so-called 'vampire' facials and what do they consist of?

While many popular cosmetic treatments are administered with needles, such as Botox to eliminate wrinkles and fillers to plump lips, a “vampire facial”or procedure microneedling with platelet-rich plasmainvolves drawing the client's own blood, separating its components, and then using small needles to inject plasma into the face to rejuvenate the skin.

The New Mexico Department of Health began investigating the spa in mid-2018 after a 40-year-old woman was notified that she tested positive for HIV, despite having no known risk factors. The woman later reported that she was exposed to needles during the procedure at the clinic months ago.

The spa closed in late 2018 after the investigation began and its owner was prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license.

The report says the investigation revealed the importance of requiring infection control practices in establishments that offer cosmetic needle procedures.

He also noted that the investigation was delayed by poor record-keeping and said establishments that provide these services should better maintain documentation in case customers need to be contacted later.