Four women infected with HIV after a facial treatment at a spa

Four women infected with HIV after a facial treatment at a spa
Four women infected with HIV after a facial treatment at a spa

Several cases of HIV transmission through injections have occurred in the United States, health authorities confirm. The victims had all received a facial treatment called a “vampire lift”.

Alexis Llanos

Written on 02/05/2024

The vampire lift is a treatment which consists of blood injections into the face in order to regenerate the skin –
Shutterstock

Four women were infected with the AIDS virus following facial treatments performed in a spa. This is confirmed by a report published on Thursday April 25 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main public health agency in the United States.

The facts took place in 2018 in an establishment located in Albuquerque, a city in the state of New Mexico. The spa manager regularly offered her clients a treatment called “vampire lift”. These are the first known cases of HIV transmission by injection in a cosmetic care context.

What is the vampire lift?

The “vampire lift” is a facial treatment which consists of injecting one’s own platelet-rich plasma (PRP). It first requires a blood sample from another region of the body and then continues with an injection into the face. The objective of this supposedly rejuvenating treatment is to regenerate the skin and reduce the marks of age. Its effectiveness has never been demonstrated.

Normally, this practice, much appreciated by American stars, is carried out by an aesthetic doctor, in a sterile and controlled environment. But the CDC investigation showed that Maria Ramos de Ruiz, the manager of the spa salon who was 62 years old at the time of the events, regularly offered this treatment in an illegal and unregulated manner.

More than 59 potential victims

A first woman tested positive for HIV during the summer of 2018 after receiving this treatment. After five years of investigation, four more confirmed victims were discovered: three women also tested positive for HIV, while a man contracted the infection while having sex with one of them. , without ever having received care in the establishment in question.

A total of 59 spa guests may have been exposed to HIV, according to CDC investigators and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). Among them, 20 people had performed a vampire lift. The number of potential victims is likely much higher, the CDC warns.

Also read: Calf tox, linen botox… these TikTok beauty trends to absolutely avoid

The establishment closed in 2018 by the CDC

During its investigation, the CDC discovered unlabeled syringes and blood tubes, unwrapped needles scattered throughout the living room, and products stored in the refrigerator alongside food. These lapses in hygiene, in particular the reuse of vials and syringes, would have been the cause of HIV contamination.

Maria Ramos de Ruiz closed the doors of her salon shortly after the investigation began, at the end of 2018. In June 2022, she pleaded guilty “practicing medicine without a license” and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV is transmittedby the bodily fluids of an infected person, including blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions” recalls the World Health Organization (WHO).

“HIV transmission via unsterile injection practices is a known risk” remind CDC investigators. However, they specify that it “It is important to determine new routes of HIV transmission in people without known risk factors”.

The Health Mag – France 5

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