Health

Spa's clients urged to get HIV testing

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Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

A client of VIP Spa in Albuquerque who developed an infection has prompted the state to warn other customers who received “vampire facials” or certain other services to get tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

The state Health Department issued the warning after inspectors from several agencies on Friday night “saw issues with storage, handling and disposing of needles” at the spa, at 809 Tijeras NW, epidemiologist Michael Landen said.

A vampire facial is a procedure in which a provider draws about 2 teaspoons of blood and uses a centrifuge to isolate platelets. The material is then injected into the face as a way to rejuvenate skin.

Of particular concern are people who received injection services in May and June, but “we are also focused on getting anyone who received a vampire facial or an injection-related service at VIP Spa at any time – we want them to come in, as well,” Landen said.

A representative for the spa did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

VIP Spa has been shut down because it does not have a required state “establishment license,” according to a cease-and-desist order issued Friday. It had held a license from September 2011 to March 2013, according to the Department of Regulation and Licensing.

The spa will remain closed until it corrects violations discovered during the inspection and is re-inspected, department spokeswoman Bernice Geiger said.

The state is offering “free and confidential lab testing and counseling” at the Midtown Public Health Office, 2400 Wellesley NE. It’s open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Landen said he did not know how many customers might be at risk.

“We don’t have access to a traditional appointment book (or other) system, so we really don’t have a way of answering that,” Landen said.

He said the spa also did botox injections, but he did not know what other services it offered that involved needles.

The inspection was done by the Health Department, the state Regulation and Licensing Department, and the Barbers and Cosmetologists Board.

For more information, contact the Midtown health office at 505-670-8615 during regular business hours. After 5 p.m. or on weekends, call 505-827-0006.

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