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Saturday, 18 September, 1999, 05:31 GMT 06:31 UK
Parents 'flee' over baby's HIV test
The parents are adamant their daughter will not be tested
The parents who have been ordered to have their baby daughter tested for the Aids virus say they have left the country.

Camden Council in north London, had applied to the courts under the 1989 Children Act for the test when it was discovered that the mother was HIV-positive.

But the girl's parents refused, saying it is down to them to make decisions on behalf of their five-month-old child, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Two weeks ago the High Court rejected their case. Mr Justice Wilson said the baby had a "right to life" and needed the test to find out if she needed treatment.

The test is due to be carried out in London on 24 September. But the child's parents told the Daily Mail shortly before they left their north London home that they would not be there. However the paper does not reveal where they have fled to.

The couple said they were adamant that they did not want the state to intervene in their daughter's upbringing.

'Loss of control'

The baby's mother has shown no symptoms of Aids and believes there is no link between HIV and the disease.

But Camden Council said the baby could die if she is also HIV-positive and goes untreated, and wants to conduct the test so the child can receive the highest standard of medical treatment on offer.

The couple believe in the effectiveness of alternative medicine and say it has kept the mother healthy so far.

They have said they feared they would lose control over the way the child was treated if the test goes ahead.

Tests are 'meaningless'

One example of the kind of intervention the parents feared was over breastfeeding.

The girl is currently being breastfed. Doctors say HIV can be passed from mother to baby through breast milk.

The mother told the Daily Mail: "We are also totally against HIV testing. If the test is negative there will be further tests. These will continue until eight weeks after I stop breastfeeding. Pressure will be put on me to bottlefeed Amy (not her real name), which I don't want to do. I've been told that every day I breastfeed I am putting her at risk, but I don't believe it.

"If she is positive she would then be monitored regularly and probably be prescribed the antibiotic Septrin which has dangerous side effects.

"In any event I think the tests are meaningless and not indicative of ill health."

See also:

03 Sep 99 | Health
Baby in HIV court struggle
02 Sep 99 | Health
Pregnant women offered HIV test
03 Sep 99 | Health
Baby must have HIV test
03 Sep 99 | Health
HIV test ruling: The reaction
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