A New Mexico beauty salon that closed in 2018 after it was linked to two HIV cases has been linked to three other cases, according to state officials.
VIP Beauty Salon and Spa in Albuquerque offered “vampire facials” and was closed after an investigation revealed unwrapped needles strewn around the salon and unlabeled syringes.
In June 2022, its owner, 62-year-old María Ramos de Ruiz, pleaded guilty to five felony counts of practicing medicine without a license and received three and a half years in prison.
On Wednesday, five years after its closure, the New Mexico Department of Health said it identified one new HIV case earlier this year, followed by two more cases.
VIP Spa owner María Ramos de Ruiz, 62, pleaded guilty in June 2022 to five felony counts of practicing medicine without a license and is serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence.
VIP Beauty Salon and Spa in Albuquerque (pictured April 2017) offered “vampire facials” and closed in 2018 after two HIV cases were linked. This year, another three cases were identified among previous clients
In response, she is now asking any member of the public who has visited the spa to get tested, expanding on the original tests she did in 2018 and arranging free walk-in tests for former salon clients.
“The state Office of Infectious Diseases received a 2023 report of a newly diagnosed case of HIV whose only self-reported HIV risk exposure was a vampire facial received at VIP Spa,” a department statement read.
It now recommends that anyone who has received an “injection-related service, including a vampire facial or Botox injections at the VIP Spa,” be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Made popular by Kim Kardashian, the vampire facial procedure involves taking blood from another part of the body and injecting it into the face.
Blood is usually drawn from the arm and separated into a platelet-rich plasma, which is then applied to facial skin that has been pricked with microneedles. Its goal is to rejuvenate the skin and remedy problems such as wrinkles, sun damage, or acne scars.
“It is very important that we spread the word and remind people who received any type of injection related to the services provided at the VIP Spa to get free and confidential tests,” said Dr. Laura Parajon, Assistant Secretary of State Department from United States. Health.
The spa, at 809 Tijeras Avenue, closed in September 2018 after an inspection by the New Mexico Department of Health that month.
The New Mexico Department of Health, the New Mexico Department of Regulation and Licensing, and the Deputy Director of Boards and Commissions discovered scattered unwrapped needles and unlabeled tubes of blood.
María Ramos de Ruiz (pictured in 2021) was charged with more than 20 felonies after two clients claimed they contracted HIV from a ‘vampire facial’ at her salon
Kim Kardashian popularized the ‘vampire facial’ when she posted a selfie of her face covered in blood in 2013
Inspectors also found fake Botox and ‘vampire facial’ training certificates hanging on the wall and a fake University of Phoenix diploma. The Albuquerque Journal reported.
Ramos de Ruiz’s license as a cosmetologist had expired in 2013.
Inspectors discovered numerous health code violations, including unwrapped needles, pouring blood down the kitchen sink and unlabeled syringes next to food in the refrigerator, The Albuquerque Journal reported.
Ramos de Ruiz told inspectors that she did breast and buttock sculptures, cellulite treatments and “vampire facials.”
She was ordered by him New Mexico Medical Board to stop its unlicensed practice of medicine in the state in December 2018.
In February 2019, a second client was found to have contracted HIV from ‘vampire face’.
The client allegedly received four of the facials, including one at Ramos de Ruiz’s home. Both clients, who have not been identified, are said to have contracted the same strain of the HIV virus.
A spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Health confirmed to NBC News that as of July 5, 2023, there were a total of five HIV infections linked to the clinic.
Ramos de Ruiz is currently serving his sentence at the Springer Correctional Center, according to inmate records.