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AIDS conference attendees on downed Malaysian jet

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Posted: Jul 18, 2014 10:22 AM

Updated: Jul 18, 2014 10:22 AM

SYDNEY (AP) There's an outpouring of grief today from the scientific community, following word that researchers and activists heading to an AIDS conference in Australia were among those on the Malaysian jetliner.

The passengers included the former head of the International AIDS Society, Joep Lange (yoop LAHN'-guh), a well-known researcher from the Netherlands. The hospital where he worked in Amsterdam says a colleague was also on board.

The hospital describes Lange as "a great inspiration for everybody who wanted to do something about the AIDS tragedy in Africa and Asia."

The president-elect of the International AIDS Society says if reports of Lange's death are true, than "the HIV/AIDS movement has truly lost a giant." A fellow researcher says Lange had been working on HIV since the earliest years of the epidemic.

The AIDS conference will be held as planned in the Australian city of Melbourne, out of respect for those who died. An organizer says, "We know that it's really what they would like us to do."

A spokesman for the World Health Organization, Glenn Thomas, who was also on his way to the conference, was among those on board.

There's no word on just how many of the passengers were on their way to the AIDS conference.

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046-a-12-(Dr. Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, Nobel laureate and president of the International AIDS Society, with reporters)-"wonderful human being"-Dr. Francoise Barre-Sinoussi says he is saddened to hear that the former president of the International AIDS Society, Dr. Joep Lange, was among the passengers on the downed plane. COURTESY: AuBC ((mandatory on-air credit)) (18 Jul 2014)

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089-c-19-(Kristen Gelineau (JEHL'-ehn-noh), AP correspondent)-"would have wanted"-AP correspondent Kristen Gelineau reports next week's 20th International AIDS conference that's being held in Australia is still scheduled to proceed. ((watch for possible dating)) (18 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO AMS801: In this October 2008 photo provided by AMC Amsterdam on Friday, July 18, 2014, former president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange is seen. A large number of world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists heading to an international AIDS conference in Australia were on board a Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine, officials said Friday, as news of their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across the global scientific community. Among them was Joep Lange, a well-known researcher from the Netherlands (AP Photo/Peter Lowie/AMC) (21 Oct 2008)

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Topics: Ukraine-Plane-AIDS Conference UPDATE

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