July 20, 2014
The European AIDS Clinical Society is very saddened about the loss of so many members of the international AIDS community on flight MH17. More than 290 people on board MH17, July 17 2014 were en route, many of them to the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne, Australia. Joep Lange and his partner Jacqueline van Tongeren were among them.
Joep Lange had been an extraordinary pioneer and charismatic leader since the early days of the AIDS epidemic. As past president of the International AIDS Society and as a leading Dutch academic researcher, he fought continously for the dignity of all HIV-infected people across the world. Joep was a strong voice and committed advocate for access to HIV care for all and especially in Asia and Africa. Throughout the years, he was fearless in speaking truth, in particular in taking public officials to task.
Twelve years ago, during the closing ceremony of the XIVth International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Joep Lange said "If we can get cold Coca-Cola and beer to every remote corner of Africa, it should not be impossible to do the same with drugs."
His words were an inspiration to us. Later, Joep Lange became the driving force behind the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development.
Many of us knew him as a wonderful friend as well as an outstanding scientific colleague. He was broad of expertise and an outstanding and passionate lecturer. This is an unspeakable loss. He was also a dedicated father of five children.
His partner Jacqueline van Tongeren coordinated many HIV/AIDS and health-related projects. She had worked closely with Joep Lange for many years.
Martine de Schutter and Pim de Kuijer who worked for Dutch NGOs were also on board of flight MH17.
The European AIDS Clinical Society expresses its sincere condolences to all relatives, family members and friends of people on board flight MH17.