At least 3 women contract HIV after ‘vampire facials’

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Health alert: HIV infections linked to an unlicensed spa in Albuquerque, US.

NEW YORK, April 27: Federal officials have disclosed concerning findings regarding at least three women contracting H.I.V. during cosmetic procedures known as “vampire facials” at an unlicensed spa in Albuquerque. This marks the first documented case of H.I.V. transmission through cosmetic injection services, highlighting the critical importance of exercising caution when seeking such treatments.

The infected individuals were part of a cluster of five people sharing closely related H.I.V. strains, with four having undergone platelet-rich plasma microneedling procedures at the spa. The fifth individual, a male, was involved in a sexual relationship with one of the affected women.

The source of contamination remains elusive, with investigations ongoing. A 2018 H.I.V. diagnosis in a spa patron, who reported no behavioral risk factors but underwent a platelet-rich plasma microneedling facial, prompted a public health inquiry.

Inspection of the spa revealed concerning practices, including unlabeled blood tubes strewn across the premises, syringes stored alongside food, and the apparent reuse of disposable equipment intended for single use. The facility’s unsanitary conditions were underscored in a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This alarming revelation follows recent health officials’ investigations into illnesses tied to counterfeit or improperly injected Botox, raising further concerns about cosmetic procedure safety.

Anna M. Stadelman-Behar, an epidemiologist with the CDC and lead author of the H.I.V. report, emphasized the importance of verifying providers’ licenses for cosmetic injection services. She stressed that licensed providers are trained in infection control and obligated by law to adhere to proper procedures.

The so-called vampire facials involve drawing a patient’s blood, extracting platelet-rich plasma, and using fine needles to stimulate skin rejuvenation. Despite its touted benefits for skin repair and anti-aging, the procedure has now become associated with grave health risks.

The New Mexico Department of Health spearheaded investigations into the spa-related H.I.V. cases, encountering challenges due to the spa’s inadequate records. Eventually, 59 clients were identified as at-risk, prompting extensive testing efforts within the community.

While efforts to pinpoint the exact contamination route have been inconclusive, Dr. Stadelman-Behar emphasized the importance of vigilant oversight during cosmetic procedures and urged individuals to prioritize licensed providers for their safety.

As the investigation unfolds, authorities emphasize the imperative of stringent regulatory measures and consumer vigilance to prevent similar incidents in the future.

This news has been read 1362 times!

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