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AIDS conference begins with remembrance of crash victims

The conference is regarded as the largest in the world.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   July 21, 2014 at 12:09 PM   |   Comments

| License Photo
MELBOURNE, July 21 (UPI) -- Colleagues who died aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were remembered at the start of a Melbourne, Australia, AIDS conference.

Six delegates to the 20th International AIDS Conference, regarded as the largest in the world with 12,000 attendees from 200 countries, were traveling from Amsterdam, Netherlands, when they were among 298 who died in the crash. Among them was celebrated AIDS researcher Joep Lange.

They were remembered at opening ceremonies Sunday, where Michael Kirby, a former High Court of Australia judge, noted, "This is not a time for silence. They would expect us to pick up our shattered spirits. They would demand that we renew and redouble our efforts."

Several speakers at the ceremonies became emotional while speaking of their lost colleagues, and hundreds gathered for the tribute Sunday. The conference officially convenes Monday.

International AIDS Society President-elect Chris Beyrer told delegates it had been a "long and very emotional 48 hours ... (We're) ready and determined to make it a success."

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