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Residents of Prem Ganj settlement are living in fear every day after more than 50 people were infected with HIV. [Representational Image]Reuters

An entire settlement in Uttar Pradesh is living in fear of a needle that they believe might have spread HIV to thousands of people in the locality.

It all started after several dozen villagers of Prem Ganj were tested HIV positive in January 2018, after a quack allegedly overused an infected needle thereby spreading the deadly virus. This has triggered panic among others who had consulted the 'fake doctor' in past. 

The quack, Rajendra Yadav, 35, from Bangarmau district, had been charging Rs 10 from patients as fee and also gave them medicines free of cost. Yadav used to cycle from village to village and gradually earned respect from them. The villagers were in for a shock when dozens of people, who were under his treatment, were diagnosed HIV positive in January.

Though the quack was arrested soon after it was revealed that the infected needle spread the virus, the villagers were in for more troubles.   

Health officials were alerted when 13 people from Prem Ganj were tested positive for HIV at a medical camp held by UP State Aids Control Society. To add to their woes, 25 more cases were reported at another camp organized in the village after it came under the radar of the health officials.

The health officials have directed the patients who were allegedly infected by the negligence of the fake doctor to report to the Kanpur ART Center for free treatment.

"Nearly 270 people from Prem Ganj had got themselves examined at the camps out of which 25 tested positive. Now, people are scared and are not willing to get themselves tested," Times of India quoted Sunil Kumar, a local corporator as saying.

Provided the fact that HIV positive people are often treated as outcasts in rural areas, the rest of the villagers are not willing to get themselves tested lest they meet the same fate. Not only the residents of Prem Ganj, but also the villagers from other areas who consulted Yadav are also spending sleepless nights.