Melbourne remembers HIV researchers lost on MH17

The memorial service for the victims of the Malaysian plane crash, during the Opening Session of AIDS 2014.
AIDS 2014

AIDS 2014, a global conference bringing together thousands of the world’s top AIDS researchers, community leaders, people living with HIV and policy-makers, is currently under way in Cosmos’ hometown of Melbourne.

Our reporters and writers are at the event, which we are covering in detail.

But the event is a time for sadness, too, after six HIV researchers and lobbyists were killed when travelling on Malaysian flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine.

Last night in Melbourne’s Federation Square, hundreds attended a candlelight vigil to remember those delegates, as well as the 35 million lives lost to HIV-AIDS-related illnesses.

Among the passengers of MH17 was a giant of the HIV research community, Dutchman Joep Lange. He was travelling with his partner, Jacqueline van Tongeren, who worked at the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development.

Lange was one of the pioneering Amsterdam researchers who helped us understand how HIV disrupted the human immune system and how we could turn that knowledge into effective treatment. Andrew Sullivan has a good post rounding up some of the tributes to Lange and his legacy here.

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