A mother who was infected with HIV during a gang rape while pregnant has spoken of her joy after her baby son was discovered not to be carrying the disease.
Helen Smith, of Wednesbury, was snatched off the street by four men in a car who then raped her.
The attack happened early into her pregnancy while she was carrying her son, Tyrel.
Her attackers - who have never been caught - infected Helen with the virus, which she then inadvertently passed on to her husband Mark.
But doctors have pronounced Tyrel, who is now 15-months-old, free of HIV.
And his healthy start in life has helped ease some of the torment which Helen and Mark have been through.
Helen said focusing on saving baby Tyrel had helped her get through her ordeal.
"Tyrel is a real treasure after the hell we have been through," said 26-year-old housewife Helen.
She spoke from the family home in Wednesbury where she lives with Mark, Tyrel, and their two other children, Cassie, aged eight, and Reiff, four.
She said: "The attackers are still out there and may not know they have HIV.
"But I try not to get angry as I have a wonderful husband, three lovely children and everything I need."
Helen discovered that she was HIV positive in routine pre-natal checks after the rape ordeal.
It happened after she was dragged into a car in West Bromwich.
They raped her in the vehicle and eventually dumped her at Ladywood Reservoir in 2003.
As Helen and Mark struggled to come to terms with the trauma, doctors stepped in to make sure the unborn baby had the best chance of being born without the virus.
"The HIV was a real kick in the teeth after the attack and I just had to focus on saving the baby to get me through it all," said Helen.
"It was scary because Mark and I didn't know anything about it and we got as many leaflets as we could to read up on it. It was a relief to find out it is no longer the death sentence it once was.
"I had to take big orange anti-viral tablets twice day, which made me feel sick, but forgetting just one tablet could have caused the baby to pick up HIV, so I had to be strict. But it was all worth it when I found out Tyrel was okay."
Even though Tyrel is healthy, HIV has changed Helen and 40- year- old Mark's lives forever.
Helen is forbidden by law to breast-feed her child and finds herself hiding items from the children.
"HIV messes with your head," added Helen.
"You lose all control of your life and I would hide razor blades and my toothbrush from the children in case there was any blood on them. I was terrified of passing it on to them.
"But people need to know research has come a long way now.
"Mark and I are on medication and can lead a normal life, but I do worry that we may die earlier than planned because of it and leave my children without parents."