At least 38 have tested positive for HIV in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao over the last 10 months after a fake doctor used a single syringe to treat his patients, UP health officials said Tuesday.
Singh said Kumar had gone into hiding and police were searching for him. He pretended to be a doctor and treated patients for coughs, colds and diarrhoea, according to USA Today.
Most are untrained, and some of the cures they offer can be unsafe, but in India, where the health care system is tremendously challenged, many poor people often feel they have no choice but to pay a few rupees for their services and hope for the best.
Five of those infected were children, mostly under the age of 12 years.
He is a quack, Choudhary said. The Indian Medical Association estimated there are 1 million fake doctors practicing in the country despite campaigns by health authorities.
Critics have in the past blamed a lack of stringent criminal penalties that allow quacks to thrive.
The villagers of Unnao, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, are reportedly having sleepless nights after a compulsory screening drive launched by the local administration have found a lot of them infected with HIV. He said the patients have been referred to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) centre in Kanpur.
The Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (UPSACS), observes that "UP is a low prevalence but highly vulnerable state".
"We are investigating the matter and will arrest the accused soon", Singh said.
India had 2.1 million people living with HIV at the end of 2016, according to a UNAIDS report.
Mehtab Alam, a project manager for Raza Hussain Memorial Charitable Trust, said fake doctors do not use disposable syringes, instead using glass syringes with a single need to inject hundreds of patients. "A quack who used to move on a bicycle has infected 20 people with HIV", Dohare said.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Unnao Dr S P Chaudhary said a case has been registered against the quack.
"Apart from the villagers, there could also be truck drivers who got infected as Unnao is one of the transit points where they dislodge during long-distance trips", the minister added.
He said that awareness camps will be organised there to prevent this.