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Southern Minn. parents fight for custody of infant with HIV

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A southern Minnesota couple is battling Mower County for sole custody of their infant son with HIV.

Lindsey Nagel, 22, was adopted from Romania and tested positive for HIV when she was two months old. Doctors told Nagel's parents she only had a 20 percent chance of living until she was two years old.

Nagel received powerful anti-retroviral medication to treat the infection, but after she became sick and scrawny, her parents stopped the treatment in 1992. Nagel claims she's been healthy ever since.

WCCO reports out of a dozen kids with HIV at that time, Nagel is the only one still living.

Now facing the same dilemma with her own child, Rico, Nagel must wait for approval from a judge on whether she and her fiance, John Martinez, are fit parents.

“We’re young parents, but I don’t think we’re unable to take care of our son,” Nagel told the Star Tribune.

County child protection officials took 3-month-old Rico from his mother in January, claiming he was medically neglected after two missed appointments for Rico's HIV treatments.

"We know we're not doctors. We wouldn't just stop giving him [Rico] the drugs. We're not willing to risk that. But we went in search of somebody who would say Rico doesn't need to be on these drugs," Martinez tells KSTP.

Rico is back home and under the supervision of Mower County officials. Rico's parents are due back in court on April 1 when a judge could determine if the couple will regain custody.

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