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CDC reports first documented cases of HIV transmitted through cosmetic needles

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US reported that three women were diagnosed with HIV after getting “vampire facial” procedures at an unlicensed medical spa in New Mexico.

Photo by Dmitriy Zub from Pexels.com

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US reported that three women were diagnosed with HIV after getting “vampire facial” procedures at an unlicensed medical spa in New Mexico. These are believed to be the first documented cases of people getting infected with HIV through a cosmetic procedure using needles.

This is not exactly a new case. According to the Morbidity and Mortality Report of CDC, the clinic was investigated from 2018 to 2023, and it was found that it reused disposable equipment intended for one-time use.

Particularly, the medical spa in New Mexico was actually investigated as early as 2018, when a woman in her 40s tested positive for HIV even though she had no known risk factors. This woman claimed to have been exposed to needles through the procedure at the clinic. In that same year, the medical spa was closed with the owner prosecuted for practicing medicine sans a license.

“Vampire facial” is a variation of traditional microneedling treatment, which make use of needles to “create tiny insults in the skin, stimulating the skin to repair itself with new collagen and elastin”. In a vampire facial, “this is coupled with platelet-rich plasma, which “contains growth factors to help stimulate repair”.

Other cosmetic treatments that also use needles include Botox and filler injections.

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