“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 New Mexico Department of Health said in a press release on its website.
Per CBS News, the Albuquerque spa was shut down in September after the agency found that the business was potentially spreading blood-borne infections via inappropriate practices when it came to the handling of needles. The department of health immediately urged patrons to get tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C by offering free confidential testing in addition to counseling.
“While over 100 VIP Spa clients have already been tested, NMDOH is reaching out to ensure that testing and counseling services are available for individuals who received injection-related services at the VIP Spa,” Kathy Kunkel, the agency’s cabinet secretary, also said in the release.
Lily Ruiz, who owned VIP Spa, told local ABC affiliate KOAT7 that her business used only disposable needles. “I open them in front of my clients every time they come,” she insisted.
According to KOAT7, Ruiz, who got her cosmetology license in 2011, did not have the proper license to perform vampire facials, but the spa owner claimed to have gotten her certification in Mexico.
A vampire facial, according to the Cleveland Clinic, is a medical procedure. A patient’s blood is extracted, then placed in a centrifuge to extract the plasma. That plasma is then concentrated to create a platelet-rich plasma, and is injected by tiny needles into the patient’s face. “A [platelet-rich plasma] facial helps tighten, smooth, and improve skin tone,” plastic surgeon Vincente Poblete told the Cleveland Clinic. “It triggers collagen production.”
But in a since-deleted 2018 blog post, the reality star admitted that she wished she had never gotten it done. Because she was pregnant at the time, she couldn’t use a painkiller or numbing cream before the procedure, which is often recommended by doctors. “It was really rough and painful for me,” she wrote. “It was honestly the most painful thing ever! It’s the one treatment that I’ll never do again.”