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HIV-positive infant at heart of Minnesota custody battle

A Minnesota family is fighting to regain the custody of their three-month-old son. After a disagreement over what treatment is appropriate for the HIV-positive infant he was taken into state custody.

The boy's mother was diagnosed as HIV-positive shortly after she was adopted from Romania as a two-year-old. After facing complications with a then-new antiretroviral drug, her parents (the boy's grandparents) took her off the medication. She soon returned to normal and, 20 years later, had a baby of her own.

After the boy's birth, doctors and social workers told his parents that if he didn't go on the same drug that had caused complications for his mother, he would be taken into state custody. When his parents missed two appointments in an attempt to take him out of the state for a second opinion, he was taken by the county.

Currently, his parents are not his legal guardians but they may spend unlimited time with him in the hospital where he is staying, a 45-minute drive from their home.

This case raises interesting, heart-rending questions about who is in the best position to determine what is in the best interests of children. On one hand, the state is equipped with resources like health care and social workers. On the other hand, a child's parents often have the most experience with the child. Health care and social work professionals have differing opinions on the issue.

A judge may deliver a decision in this matter next week, determining whether his parents will be able to regain custody.

Source: CBS Minnesota, "Mower Co. Family Fights for Custody of HIV-Positive Infant," Liz Collin, March 6, 2013

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