Attorney general takes over investigation into Albuquerque spa after health officials say patients were at risk for HIV | KOB 4

Attorney general takes over investigation into Albuquerque spa after health officials say patients were at risk for HIV

Ryan Laughlin
September 14, 2018 11:08 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A downtown Albuquerque spa is under investigation by the Office of the Attorney General for possibly infecting customers with blood-borne diseases.


On Friday morning the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists met to hand over complaints against VIP Spa to the attorney general.

The New Mexico Department of Health specifically warned against the vampire facial procedure, a practice identified during an inspection that could have exposed people to HIV or hepatitis.

"This is your own tissue and so it should be safe. As long as you respect those protocols, you don't get cross contamination,” said Dr. Robert Bair, medical director at Bair Medical Spa.

The Vampire Facial is growing in popularity, but it could be dangerous if not completed by a medical professional.

"Someone who's not qualified may think that, 'Oh, I'll just use this thing off of Amazon, and I'll use this device off of Amazon and start doing it,'” said Dr. Charles Runels, who created the procedure. “Maybe not maliciously, but ignorantly, risking not only cross contaminating from one person the other, but by using the wrong device, even causing an infection or causing fever."

He’s trying to protect the integrity of the procedure. Every person who advertises the vampire facial needs to go through a certification process. Runels said the person at VIP Spa was not approved, and wouldn’t have been unless they were a trained medical professional.

It’s still not known what practices triggered the NM Department of Health to issue the warning, but former customers said they were sent home with a bag of their own blood to continue treatment. Health professionals said that’s not part of the protocol.


Ryan Laughlin

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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