Vampire facials spark fears of new HIV crisis

As one of the latest trends in the beauty industry, vampire facials are growing in popularity. You don’t need to look far to find a celebrity endorsing them. Kim Kardashian is among the fad’s biggest proponents, which may inspire thousands of her fans to follow suit.

According to recent media reports, a clinic in Albuquerque is responsible for an increase in HIV cases. If you’re considering a vampire facial, you’ll find there’s no need to panic. However, these cases do indicate a need to take the right steps toward staying safe.

 What is a vampire facial?

The official name for vampire facials is plasma-rich protein facial. The facials involve taking a small amount of blood, which is then centrifuged in a lab. After centrifuging the blood, lab technicians remove the plasma. The practitioner providing the vampire facial then uses microneedles to inject the plasma into your face.

Those who provide vampire facials claim they reduce the signs of aging. The aim is to use plasma to encourage cellular regeneration and collagen production. Using microneedling in a uniform fashion should also produce the same benefits.

If you’re currently a fan of these facials, you may be surprised to learn there’s no evidence supporting their use. Literature reviews reveal that they’re no more effective than injecting your face with saline. As quite an expensive beauty fad, they can cost up to $1,000.

Is there a link between PRP facials and HIV?

The clinic in question has sparked a sense of panic among those who use vampire facials. It closed in 2018 after two of its clients developed HIV following their treatment.

Although there’s little evidence to support the use of these facials for anti-aging, it’s important to recognize that the latest news doesn’t connect the procedure itself with the virus. It’s far more sensible to conclude that the Albuquerque clinic didn’t use safe needling practices, resulting in cross-contamination between patients. However, until an investigation concludes that just remains as a theory.

If it is the case that poor needle hygiene was used, this is an incident that could happen in a variety of settings. For example, tattoo parlors, hospitals, dental practices, and anywhere else that uses needles.

How can you have a vampire facial and remain safe?

As with any injectable procedure, the safety of a vampire facial depends on you using a licensed medical practitioner. MDs and nurses with advanced qualifications will use reliable labs, they have a heightened awareness of needle safety, and they will thoroughly asses all patients before providing a PRP facial.

Additionally, only ever use a clinic that’s clean and professional. Treat your experience in the same way that you would approach using a hospital. If you feel unsure about the setting, it’s better to spend your money elsewhere.


About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.