MH17 flight crash claims five AIDS activists’ lives 

The international science community today mourns the loss of the lives of several leading AIDS researchers and activists, who were all aboard the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Kuala Lampur. The five individuals were en route to the International AIDS Conference, which began on Sunday, July 20th. Dr. Joep Lange, a leading Dutch AIDS researcher, executive scientific director of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development and the former president of the International AIDS Society, was among the deceased. An early activist in the AIDS crisis, he worked towards the widespread distribution of HIV treatments to developing regions around the world. Furthermore, he initiated numerous health care improvement programs in several regions of Africa and encouraged associated health organizations and funds to do the same.

Along with Dr. Lange were Pim de Kuijer, a lobbyist; Martine de Schutter, an AIDS activist; Glenn Raymond Thomas, media officer for the World Health Organization and Jacqueline van Tongeren, communications director for the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly on World AIDS Day in 1992, Arthur Ashe addressed the growing need for AIDS awareness. “We want to be able to look back and say to all concerned that we did what we had to do, when we had to do it, and with all the resources required.” This goal was precisely the mission of these five individuals, and their efforts will be undoubtedly acknowledged and continued for years to come.

To learn more about these individuals, check out this NYT article
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