The dad of a 9-year-old who is HIV positive says he can't administer medication to his son because it would be like "killing my child".
The man told the High Court: "It's like I'm giving poison to my child."
He said he had previously assured health professionals he was providing treatment to his son but could not bring himself to do it - except in one occasion in an attempt to defeat a medical test.
The man was called to testify today after a health board sought court-ordered guardianship in relation to the boy's medical care for HIV.
Doctors sought the order after years of trying to have the boy's father administer medication himself.
The boy is unaware he is HIV-positive.
His father had rejected tests showing the boy was HIV positive and said even if he was, then he believed the treatment to manage the virus had such bad side effects his son would die.
Extensive suppression orders cover the case, including the boy's identity and that of his doctors.
His testimony followed that from a specialist in the treatment of children with HIV, who said the boy would die sooner and have a lower quality of life without antiretroviral drugs.
She said the father had claimed he was administering medication but tests showed the boy's condition remained unchanged, raising doubts over the father's claims.
She said medical guidelines stipulated treatment could have started years earlier.
She said the hospital had relied on the father to treat the boy but believed he had not.
At one stage concerns over the father's adherence to the boy's medication led to treatment being stopped for fear occasional treatment would increase the boy's resistance to the drugs.
The doctor said interrupted treatment of the boy had long-term adverse impact on the boy's immune system.
Justice Patrick Keane will hear final submissions on the case on February 17.
The boy's father gave an assurance he would continue to allow medical staff access to his son to administer treatment in the family home.