CDC Reveals First Cases of HIV Transmission via Cosmetic Injections

The investigation began in 2018 when the first HIV case linked to the VIP Spa in Albuquerque was discovered
The initial HIV case linked to the VIP Spa in Albuquerque surfaced in 2018, prompting an investigation by the New Mexico Department of Health. (Representational image: Pixabay)
The initial HIV case linked to the VIP Spa in Albuquerque surfaced in 2018, prompting an investigation by the New Mexico Department of Health. (Representational image: Pixabay)

The CDC has revealed findings regarding the transmission of HIV through cosmetic injections, marking the first known cases of HIV transmitted via this route. It seems probable that three women who got "vampire facials" in an unregulated spa in New Mexico contracted HIV. These cases shed light on a previously undocumented risk associated with cosmetic procedures.

The investigation began in 2018 when the first HIV case linked to the VIP Spa in Albuquerque was discovered. Prompted by this case, the New Mexico Department of Health initiated free testing for anyone who received injections at the facility. Subsequent cases emerged, leading to a deeper investigation by the CDC and health department.

The initial HIV case linked to the VIP Spa in Albuquerque surfaced in 2018, prompting an investigation by the New Mexico Department of Health. The spa was subsequently shut down after investigators identified practices that posed potential risks of blood-borne infections.

The most recent case emerged when a former client of the spa tested positive for HIV last year, prompting the reopening of the investigation. The CDC's report reveals the affected clients and the spa's operating practices.

According to the report, the spa operated without appropriate licenses and failed to implement proper safety measures. Investigators discovered unsafe practices, including unlabeled tubes of blood stored alongside food in the kitchen refrigerator, unwrapped syringes found in various locations, and the absence of an autoclave for sterilization.

The most recent case emerged when a former client of the spa tested positive for HIV last year. (Representational image: Pixabay)
The most recent case emerged when a former client of the spa tested positive for HIV last year. (Representational image: Pixabay)

The CDC's joint investigation with the New Mexico Department of Health revealed that a total of 59 spa clients may have been exposed to HIV, with 20 of them having received vampire facials. The rest of the clients had undergone other injection services, such as botox.

Vampire facials, also known as platelet-rich plasma microneedling, involve drawing a client's blood, separating out the plasma, and injecting it into the face using tiny needles. Despite claims of skin rejuvenation and scar reduction, the American Academy of Dermatology notes a lack of evidence supporting the efficacy of these facials.

Out of the five individuals diagnosed with HIV in relation to the spa, four were female, and one was a male who happened to be a female patient's sexual partner. While two patients attributed their infections to exposures predating their cosmetic procedures, the remaining three cases were likely due to contamination at the spa during 2018.

The investigation underscores the importance of infection control practices in cosmetic facilities to prevent the transmission of HIV and other blood-related pathogens. The CDC recommends maintaining adequate client records to facilitate investigations and ensure traceback in the event of adverse outcomes.

The CDC has also initiated an investigation into counterfeit and mishandled Botox injections. Twenty-two women have reported adverse reactions to these injections, highlighting the need for strict safety measures in the cosmetic industry. As investigations continue, authorities urge individuals who have received services at the VIP Spa to undergo testing for bloodborne pathogens.

(Input from various media sources)

(Rehash/ Susmita Bhandary/MSM)

The initial HIV case linked to the VIP Spa in Albuquerque surfaced in 2018, prompting an investigation by the New Mexico Department of Health. (Representational image: Pixabay)
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