Three women infected with HIV after getting ‘vampire facials’, CDC reports

Three women who had so-called “vampire facials” at a New Mexico spa appear to have been infected with HIV, marking the first cases of the disease being spread through cosmetic injection services, according to a CDC report.

In the summer of 2018, a woman in her 40s was told she was HIV positive, despite not being exposed to any known HIV risk factors — like injection drugs, blood transfusions, or sexual contact with someone who had tested positive for HIV. The woman did, however, report that she had recently been exposed to needles during the vampire facial procedure.

The two other patients had received vampire facials in 2018.

Vampire facials — done to rejuvenate skin — are conducted by receiving “platelet-rich plasma with microneedling,” the CDC wrote. They gained popularity since Kim Kardashian underwent the procedure during an episode of Kim and Kourtney Take Miami. She posted photos on Instagram after the procedure, revealing a horror-movie-like blood-smattered skin that was allegedly in the process of becoming more youthful.

“Evidence suggests that contamination from an undetermined source at the spa during spring and summer 2018 resulted in HIV-1 transmission to these three patients,” the agency wrote.

The CDC noted that the procedures were performed at an “unlicensed facility that did not follow recommended infection control procedures or maintain client records.”

During an inspection of the spa in the fall of 2018, investigators found “ multiple unsafe infection control practices,” including a rack of unlabeled tubes containing blood on the kitchen counter, unlabeled tubes of blood and medical injectables, like botox, stored in the kitchen refrigerator — next to food — and unwrapped syringes scattered in drawers, on counters, and discarded in regular trash cans.

The CDC report noted the unprecedented nature of the findings, writing that “HIV transmitted through cosmetic injection services via contaminated blood has not been previously documented.”

The owner of the spa pleaded guilty in 2022 to negligence, sentenced to more than three years in prison, KOB reported at the time.