Viral Vampire Facial Linked to Spread of HIV in New Mexico Salon

‘Vampire facials’ at an Albuquerque, New Mexico spa infected several women with HIV, according to the CDC. It is the first known instance of HIV spread by cosmetic injection.

After an inquiry found unwrapped needles dispersed and unmarked syringes, the VIP Beauty Salon and Spa, which advertised “vampire facials,” was shuttered in 2018. Her cosmetologist license had expired in 2013.

During a joint CDC and New Mexico Department of Health investigation, a rack of unmarked blood vials was found, along with unpackaged syringes, in drawers and countertops and used needles in garbage cans.

The HIV virus targets the body’s defense mechanisms, namely the immune system’s CD4 cells responsible for fighting off infections. At its most severe, HIV infection may progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Kim Kardashian and others popularized the idea of a vampire facial, which entails drawing blood from another part of one’s body and depositing it into one’s face to aid the production of new, revitalized skin cells.

In 2018, a vampire facial was the catalyst for the first HIV-positive woman’s test. She had never used injectable drugs, had no recent blood transfusions, and had no sexual interaction with an HIV-positive person.

In 2018, the vampire facials were also administered to two other women. The following year, one woman was found to have HIV, while the other was hospitalized last year with severe symptoms.

Another woman and her boyfriend also tested positive for HIV. The man got the virus by having intercourse with his girlfriend, who had a vampire facial at a spa.

Twenty of the 59 spa customers who were potentially exposed to HIV had gotten vampire facials, according to investigations from the CDC and the health department.

According to NMDOH, the spa intended to make customers think they were visiting a legitimate medical institution.  Inspectors discovered phony diplomas from the University of Phoenix and cosmetic medical training certifications. Ramos de Ruiz lacked the necessary medical license to do injections, which are within the purview of the medical board. Ramos de Ruiz was ordered to cease practicing medicine in New Mexico without a license by the state’s medical board in December 2018.

Ramos de Ruiz is incarcerated at Springer Correctional Center for three years and six months.