Of the 298 victims of the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, nearly 100 passengers were heading to the 20th Annual International AIDS Conference. Despite the tragic loss, the International AIDS Society, which organized the 14,000-person event, never considered cancelling the gathering.
The mood in Melbourne, where the victims were heading, was somber. The opening ceremony of the conference included a memorial to the victims, which included researchers, clinicians and advocates for HIV/AIDS prevention and care. The IAS released a statement saying, “At this incredibly sad and sensitive time, the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy.”