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HIV workers "martyrs" says Bill Clinton

Sat 19 Jul 2014 In: International News

Bill Clinton says the tragedy is "sickening". An emotional Bill Clinton says the HIV researchers, activists and health workers killed in a shot down Malaysian aircraft are "martyrs" in the fight against the disease. The former US president will be among the keynote speakers at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, where some of those aboard MH17 were headed. There is still no official confirmation of the number people from the HIV/AIDS field on board. Clinton has told CNN he personally knew some of the victims. "It's awful,” he says (see his comments in the video below). "Those people are really in a way martyrs to the cause that we are going to Australia to talk about." Clinton says they were doing so much good. "This gathering, we do this on a regular basis, have these international AIDS conferences and I try to go to all of them because I'm always so inspired by what other people are doing and what we can learn from them. "Thinking about those people being knocked out of the sky is pretty tough." UNAIDS boss Michel Sidibe says the tragedy should be used to bring the dreams of the delegates into reality. "We should use this day, which is a very difficult day for us, to transform it," he said yesterday. "We should use this moment of sadness as a moment for us to push our agenda; our agenda for saving lives of millions of people." International AIDS Society president Francoise Barre-Sinoussi agreed. "The decision to go on, we were thinking about them because we know it's really what they would have liked us to do.” The conference is due to begin tomorrow, and will go ahead. Organiser, the International AIDS Society, says this is in recognition of the dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDs of those killed. (L-R) Joep Lange, Glenn Thomas, Pim de Kuijer, Martine de Schutter and Lucie van Mens. Among those confirmed dead are the Society’s former president Joep Lange and his partner ArtAids board member Jacqueline van Tongeren, World Health Organisation media liaison Glenn Thomas, a member of the Dutch Parliament on his way to the conference and three Dutch AIDS activists: Lucie van Mens, Martine de Schutter and Pim de Kuijer.     

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 19th July 2014 - 8:47am

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