“We extend our condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of everyone aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. We are extremely saddened to learn of the loss of as many as 100 prominent HIV/AIDS researchers and activists believed to have been on the plane who were traveling to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Included among those who perished is renowned HIV researcher, Dr. Joep Lange, head of the public health department at Amsterdam University and a former president of the International AIDS Society; as well as the face of the movement to improve access to anti-retroviral drugs in developing countries.

The loss of Dr. Lange along with all of the other doctors, scientists and activists is a tremendous blow to our community and to the future research and treatments that they will never see to fruition. We wish to recognize the dedication of these individuals to the fight against HIV/AIDS and to honor their memories by continuing to fight for increased funding and access to healthcare here in our city.”