The former owner of a New Mexico spa has been charged with two dozen felonies after two of her clients tested positive for HIV following a procedure known as a "vampire facial." The procedure involves drawing a small amount of blood, which is then spun to extract the plasma. The plasma is then injected back into the client. The procedure is supposed to stimulate healing and promote the growth of healthy skin cells, according to Healthline.
Authorities began investigating Maria Ramos de Ruiz, the owner of VIP Salon in Albuquerque, in 2018 after the New Mexico Department of Health received a report that somebody who underwent a vampire facial tested positive for HIV.
Health inspectors shut down the spa in September 2018 after an inspection found numerous health and safety violations, including unwrapped needles, unlabeled blood tubes, and fake certificates claiming Ruiz was licensed to perform Botox and vampire facials. She told the inspectors the tubing used for the injections was not cleaned in between each use.
Several months later, authorities learned that a second client who received a vampire facial tested positive for HIV. Officials said that laboratory tests confirmed that both people were infected with the same virus.
Officials said that a total of 137 clients were tested for HIV over concerns that they might have been infected.
On Wednesday (April 21), New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that Ruiz was being charged with two dozen felonies, including practicing medicine without a license, racketeering, fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion.
"Individuals who jeopardize the health and safety of New Mexican families must be held accountable," Balderas said in a statement. "We look forward to presenting this case at trial."
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