‘Vampire facials’ spa owner linked to HIV cases in New Mexico faces 24 charges

Southwest

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — The owner of a shuttered New Mexico spa is facing dozens of charges after at least two clients were diagnosed with HIV after receiving “vampire facials” at the facility in 2018.

Maria Ruiz is facing 24 felony counts ranging from tax evasion to illegal practice of medicine and various other public safety crimes in Albuquerque.

Authorities shut down Ruiz’s illegal medical spa in 2018. The attorney general’s office began its investigation when two of Ruiz’s clients were diagnosed with HIV after getting vampire facials.

“We knew we had to shut the business down,” said New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.

A vampire facial is a non-surgical facelift where a patient’s blood is drawn, then components of the blood are injected back into the face using microneedles. Ruiz did not have the appropriate medical license required to perform these kinds of procedures.

Latest News

“These are procedures that should be supervised by a medical doctor,” Balderas said.

Both Ruiz’s cosmetology and business licenses were expired.

The report said Ruiz had done a good job at creating the illusion that she was properly trained in these practices, forging numerous certificates, and even a fake degree from the University of Phoenix.

“She deceived many women into trusting her, and her facility,” Balderas said.

When asked how something like this could possibly slip through the cracks, Balderas explained that the regulation and licensing department has limited jurisdiction. “They don’t have the ability to go and inspect equipment to make sure it’s sanitized; they can only receive cursory complaints,” Balderas said.

How to watch the NewsNation television broadcast

The attorney general’s office and licensing department released a list of questions for consumers to ask before receiving any kind of procedure, like a vampire facial. Those questions are listed below:

  1. Whether or not the establishment uses universal precautions – similar to tattoo parlors or a medical facility.
  2. What precautions are utilized?
  3. Who will be performing the procedure? 
  4. Will it be performed by a licensed medical professional? Cosmetologists and estheticians are not licensed to conduct medical procedures. At a minimum, one must be qualified as a phlebotomist to draw blood, and if injections are administered below the subdermis, a nurse or physician must perform the procedure.
  5. Does the establishment have a medical director? If so, what are their qualifications?  Is it a physician or a nurse practitioner?

© 1998 - 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNationNow.com