When hundreds of lives, including six HIV/AIDS advocates and scientists, were needlessly ended by an unthinkable act of violence on July 17, the ripple effect of the loss was felt around the word. Here, members of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation family remember and honor fallen friends and comrades lost on Malaysian Airlines flight 17…
Photos and biographies courtesy of the New York Times and the Straits Times (click photos above to view biographies)
Anna Żakowicz , AHF Europe Advocacy & Partnership Director on Dr. Joep Lange:
With this sudden death, humanity is losing a person whose interest went beyond research – he was a compassionate human being concerned with the needs of people who live with HIV, and a person who found innovative solutions where others did not see hope.
I had the honor to work with Professor Joep Lange at the International AIDS Society ‘Treatment as Prevention’ work group and on an H-TEAM study in the Netherlands; the focus of both was utilizing novel approaches, including scaling up universal access to treatment and early testing, diagnosis and immediate treatment initiation to reduce mortality, morbidity and HIV transmission and ultimately eradicate HIV.
The most important lessons Dr. Lange taught me were: to dream big, listen to the needs of people you serve – as they are the focus of all the work we do – and continue doing what you believe in, no matter what. Such an approach and support to a younger generation of people who are involved in the HIV fight will be dearly missed. I will never forget these lessons, and I thank him for them.
July 18, 2014
Loretta Wong, AHF Director of Advocacy & Partnership Consultant on loss of AIDS advocates:
So many people here in the 2014 International AIDS Conference are still in disbelief and saddened the MH17 tragedy. I am totally shaken by this horrific news. The AIDS delegates on MH17 had dedicated their lives and passion in HV prevention, care, treatment, research and advocacy – they saved many lives around the world. These few days will be very difficult for all of us and sorrow will linger on. I trust that we from the AIDS community are in solidarity and we will stand together stronger than ever.
July 18, 2014
Terri Ford, AHF Chief of Global Advocacy & Policy on loss of AIDS advocates:
There is a sad and dark cloud over the 2014 International AIDS Conference here in Melbourne. We are at a critical time in the AIDS battle right now and as AHF promotes the 20 x 20 initiative (pushing to scale up to 20 million people on treatment by 2020) – we need all the best AIDS warriors in the effort. Dr. Joep Lange was one of the very best — and we just lost him. It’s shocking to me. The loss of all of these advocates is a major loss. We will forge on in their memory and deal with our anger over this horrific act — it is a very sad day.
July 18, 2014
Michael Weinstein, AHF President on loss of AIDS advocates:
Six of our comrades in arms in the war against AIDS died on the battlefield yesterday. They died in the service of humanity at the hands of barbarians. It is impossible to express the totality of our sadness and outrage.
Those of us who travel the world know that we could have been on that plane. We have chosen to take these risks. Yet, others of our co-workers live in dangerous places where they and their families are in danger every day. Plus, so many of our patients live at the edge of survival.
Among the victims was Dr. Joep Lange, a renowned researcher and advocate. He was a prince of a man. He chaired the 2002 International AIDS Conference. At that meeting he stood shoulder to shoulder with us in our fight for access to medications for the developing world. The march that AHF organized at that meeting with the support of Dr. Lange was pivotal in growing support for universal access to HIV treatment.
This is a moment for quiet reflection on the meaning of our lives and that of our loved ones. Now is also a time to renew our commitment to humanity. We honor the dead best by continuing to fight for the living and truly appreciating one another.
July 18, 2013
Mary Adair, AHF Director of Task Shifting Program on loss of AIDS advocates:
With the recent loss of those who have fought against HIV — dedicating themselves for the betterment of all — it is indeed a sad time. As we hold their memories in our hearts, we will carry on.
July 21, 2014
Svetlana Kulsis,Leader of Demetra /AHF Lithuania on loss of Martine de Schutter :
On behalf of members of “Demetra” based in Lithuania I would like to express our sadness over the death of our colleague and friend Martine. She was a very warm, professional, and friendly person who was always ready to help, to advise, or to listen. We are really missing her.
July 22, 2014
View photos from AHF’s July 18 Memorial for those lost on MH17 here.
AHF President Michael Weinstein speaks at the July 18 memorial: