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A Woman Was Indicted After Her Clients Contracted HIV Following A 'Vampire Facial'

Photo: Google Maps
VIP Beauty Salon and Spa located in Albuquerque, New Mexico

A former salon owner was indicted on more than two dozen felonies after two of her clients contracted HIV via the salon's “vampire facials.”

Maria Ramos de Ruiz, the former owner of the VIP Beauty Salon and Spa located in Albuquerque, New Mexico — which since been shut down — is facing charges including fraud, tax evasion, racketeering, and practicing medicine without a license.

The 59-year-old had been in trouble in the past but continued practicing medicine with an expired license.

What is a vampire facial and what made them so popular?

A vampire facial, also known as PRP (platelet-rich-plasma) treatment, is a procedure in which a patient’s blood is extracted, and is then placed into a spinning device to separate the plasma. Then, the blood is injected back into the skin by puncturing the skin using a micro-needle.

It is said that the treatment helps reduce wrinkles, plump up the skin and improve moisture retention. Like anything, however, it has its negative effects.

Aside from leaving the skin extremely red and irritated, it may itchiness and bruising.

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Back in 2013, vampire facials became all the rave when Kim Kardashian uploaded a selfie to her Instagram showing that she had just gotten the procedure done.

In a post that garnered over 141,000 likes, the treatment became extremely popular.

The vampire facials done in the salon weren’t necessarily by the book.

A statement from the New Mexico Attorney General's Office stated that the tools used to take the blood from the clients and back to their skin weren’t correctly cleaned or disinfected between uses, likely leading to the contraction of HIV.

“Inspectors found 'numerous health code violations and unsafe infection control practices,' including unwrapped needles, blood being dumped into the kitchen sink and unlabeled syringes beside food in the refrigerator,” the statement read.

The vampire facials that led to two clients contracting the same strain of the HIV virus, were just two out of 137 clients who received "unlicensed and fraudulent services" from Ramos de Ruiz, according to authorities.

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What was Ramos de Ruiz charged with?

On April 19, the former owner was charged with a total of 24 felonies.

They include seven counts of willful failure to collect and pay taxes, six counts of money laundering, five counts of practicing medicine without a license, four counts of tax evasion, and individual counts of racketeering and fraud.

According to a statement from the state's attorney general, an investigation into Ramos de Ruiz first began back in 2019 when the two clients who contracted HIV were linked back to the salon.

“The New Mexico Department of Health in August 2018 learned a person with no risk factors for HIV had contracted the bloodborne infection after getting a 'vampire facial' at the VIP Beauty Salon and Spa," the statement read. "The DOH, the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, and deputy director of Boards and Commissions inspected the VIP Spa the following month.”

According to the authorities, they allege that Ramos de Ruiz had fake certificates inside the salon that stated that she was trained to perform botox procedures and vampire facials. Following the inspection and the evidence gathered, Ramos de Ruiz was ordered to cease procedures at the end of 2018.

Although Ramos de Ruiz did have a license to practice cosmetology, it expired back in 2013, therefore making it invalid and illegal.

What now for Ramos de Ruiz and the salon?

It wasn’t confirmed if Ramos de Ruiz had entered pleas to the charges or whether or not she even had a lawyer on her behalf. One thing is for certain: No one can escape that many charges, especially when there’s so much hard evidence.

The salon has been shut down and out of business but it still resides in the same location in New Mexico.

For those still interested in undergoing the vampire facial procedure, it is best to make sure the business utilizes the correct measures to sanitize its tools and to make sure they are using clean needles.

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Tomás Diniz Santos is a writer living in Orlando, Florida. He covers news, entertainment, and pop-culture topics.