A former owner of a salon in New Mexico has been indicted on 24 felonies, including fraud and practicing medicine without a license, according to reports, after authorities discovered at least two patrons contracted HIV after getting a “vampire facial.”
Maria de Lourdes Ramos de Ruiz, 59, former owner of VIP Beauty Salon and Spa in Albuquerque, is also charged with racketeering, money laundering, and tax evasion.
UK CORONAVIRUS VARIANT LIKELY CIRCULATED UNDETECTED IN US FOR MONTHS, RESEARCHERS SAY
“Individuals who jeopardize the health and safety of New Mexican families must be held accountable,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting this case at trial.”
A “vampire facial” is a cosmetic procedure that involves Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy: drawing a patient’s blood, spinning it in a centrifuge, and then injecting small amounts under the skin using multiple, small needles; blood also is applied topically on the skin.
In September 2018, the New Mexico Department of Health, the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department and deputy director of Boards and Commissions inspected the business, discovering unwrapped needles scattered around the salon, unlabeled blood tubes in a kitchen area, and fake credentials for Botox and “vampire facial” training hanging on the walls.
Inspectors also found out that blood had been dumped into the kitchen sink and unlabeled syringes were beside food in the refrigerator.
Inadequate cleaning and disinfection included machine tubing that had not been cleaned or changed between clients.
“It appears VIP Spa attempted to give its clients the impression that it was a licensed, accredited medical facility,” wrote an inspector, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in 2nd Judicial District Court.
Ramos de Ruiz had an expired cosmetologist license from 2013.
Both clients who contracted HIV through the treatments had the same strain of the virus; the first client was identified in August 2018 and the second patron was detected in February 2019.