So maybe I gave away the plot in the title, but this is
To set the stage, the VIP Spa, in Albuquerque, New Mexico is
a place where you can go to get some pretty bizarre beauty treatments, for
those willing to go to extreme lengths.
Certainly I’m not the only one familiar with the grisly
legend of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the Hungarian noblewoman named by the
Guinness Book of World Records as history’s most prolific female serial
We’re not sure how many victims Bathory has under her girdle,
but at least one count has the number as high as 650 young girls, between the
years 1585 and 1609.
As the story goes (whether true or fanciful folklore), the
vain countess would torture and bleed young peasant girls, in order to bathe in
their blood. She believed it kept her youthful and beautiful.
Now fast forward, and we see this VIP Spa putting a
modern-day spin on it – presumably without all the murder-y stuff.
They have apparently been shooting blood plasma into people’s faces.
Here’s a thought: Did anyone question where the blood came
I guess not.
In September 2018 the state Department of Health, as well as
the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department and Barbers and
Cosmetologists Board decided that was just too freaky, so they shut it down.
To be more specific, they pointed out that the practices of
VIP Spa put clients at risk of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, among other
With that in mind, no one should be surprised to learn that two former clients of the spa have stepped forward to announce they have HIV, all thanks to these “vampire facials.
Authorities say they were infected sometime between May 2018
and September, when the spa was closed.
The department has not yet concluded the facials, which involve the injection of plasma into the face, directly caused the infections, but said “additional laboratory testing on specimens from the two clients indicates recent infection with the same HIV virus- increasing the likelihood that the two HIV infections may have resulted from a procedure at the VIP spa.” The department has not identified any other potential exposures for the virus at the spa.
“While over 100 VIP Spa clients have already been tested, NMDOH is reaching out to ensure that testing and counseling services are available for individuals who received injection related services at the VIP Spa,” Kathy Kunkel, New Mexico Department of Health Cabinet secretary, said in a statement. “Testing is important for everyone as there are effective treatments for HIV and many hepatitis infections.”
How concerning is that?
Another question, however, is how common is this? Is this a
random, New Mexico thing, or are there other little pockets of insanity around
the nation practicing something so foolhardy?
For those who may have ventured into the VIP Spa, however,
the New Mexico Department of Health is offering free testing at two separate
sites, every Tuesday.
They’re also asking that anyone seeking cosmetic procedures
be sure that a licensed medical professional is performing the injections.
I’ll go one further: Don’t do it! It’s gross!