In ‘Reason 1,138,942 the world needs to get its shit together‘ kind of news:
More than 100 delegates and family members of the 20th International AIDS Conference, due to begin Sunday, were on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the Australian, the Star Observer, and the Age reported Friday morning local time.
Those headed to the conference in Melbourne included medical researchers, health workers, and activists. Joep Lange was one of the passengers killed in the jetliner crash in Ukraine on Thursday, the Kirby Institute confirmed in a statement.
Lange was one of several HIV/AIDS researchers and activists on board Flight MH17, according to colleagues on Twitter. They were on their way to the AIDS 2014 conference in Australia which begins on July 20.
“How do we measure how much a person has done for humanity? People like Joep change the course of epidemics.”
– Dr. Seema @DoctorYasmin
Lange has been involved in HIV research and treatment since 1983. He worked in particular on pivotal trials in antiretroviral therapy and on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Also on the flight were Glenn Raymond Thomas, a Geneva-based spokesman for World Health Organization, Pim de Kuijer, an AIDS activist from the Netherlands and a parliamentary lobbyist for Stop AIDS Now!, Martine de Schutter, who worked for organizations associated with the AIDS Fonds foundation and Stop AIDS Now!, and Executive Director Louise van Deth, along with so many others.
While every single life lost is an awful tragedy, one can’t help but feel the weight of losing a group of such prominent voices in the AIDS research field — influences and educators who would have gone on to save so many others. A terrible loss and our thoughts are with their friends and families, along with everyone effected or touched by the crash. RIP Flight MH17!