CDC identifies 1st documented cases of HIV transmitted through cosmetic needles


Three women were diagnosed with HIV after getting “vampire facial” treatments at an unlicensed spa in New Mexico. This is the first time people have been documented contracting HIV from a cosmetic procedure using needles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The investigation, which took place from 2018 to 2023, revealed that the clinic reused disposable equipment meant for one-time use. While HIV transmission through contaminated blood from unsterile injections is known, this is the first time it has been linked to cosmetic services.

Popular cosmetic treatments like Botox and fillers involve needles, as do procedures like vampire facials, where a client’s own blood is drawn, separated, and then injected into the face with tiny needles to rejuvenate the skin. Tattoos also require needles.

The New Mexico Department of Health started looking into the spa in 2018 after a woman tested positive for HIV despite having no known risk factors. She had undergone the procedure at the clinic that spring. The spa closed later that year, and its owner was prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license.

The CDC report emphasizes the need for infection control practices at businesses offering cosmetic procedures with needles. It also highlights the importance of keeping better records to facilitate investigations and contact clients if needed in the future.


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