Associate Press 3 Sept. 1999

LONDON (AP) A British judge ruled Friday that the 4-month-old daughter of a woman who is HIV-positive should be tested for the AIDS virus against her parents' wishes.

Judge Sir Nicholas Wilson called the case for testing "overwhelming.''

"This baby has rights of her own,'' said Wilson, sitting in the family division of the High Court.

"This case is not about the rights of the parents, and if, as the father has suggested, he regards the rights of a tiny baby to be subsumed within the rights of the parents, he is wrong,'' the judge said.

The baby's parents, who have not been identified, refused to have their daughter tested, contending she is perfectly healthy and that they should be able to decide what is best for her.

Social workers for the Camden Council in north London used a 1989 law protecting children to mount a legal challenge to their decision.

The girl's mother, who was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1990, believes scientists are mistaken in viewing HIV as AIDS' sole cause. Her father, who has tested negative for the virus, practices alternative medicine.

The judge said the parents "cling to their theories with the intensity of the shipwrecked mariner who clings to the plank of wood.''

The couple might appeal the ruling, according to the mother's lawyer, Alison Burt.

If the girl is found to be HIV-positive, she could be treated with a combination of drugs. If found to be negative, her mother would be urged to stop breast-feeding in a bid to prevent infection.