AIDS 2014The 20th International AIDS Conference (a.k.a. AIDS 2014) began Sunday, July 20, in Melbourne, Australia, with tributes to the six delegates who lost their lives aboard Malaysian flight MH17, which was shot down in the Ukraine, according to the latest press release from the International AIDS Society (IAS), which organizes the conferences.

The moment of remembrance was led by representatives from the international health and AIDS advocacy organizations that lost colleagues—the World Health Organization, AIDS Fonds, Stop AIDS Now, The Female Health Company, and the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development—as well as 11 former and future presidents from the IAS.

In light of the tragedy, AIDS 2014 will continue as planned. “I strongly believe that all of us being here for the next week to discuss, to debate and to learn is indeed what our colleagues who are no longer with us would have wanted,” said Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, MD, PhD, president of IAS and the international conference chair, at the event opening.

She then went on to discuss the groundbreaking treatment advances for hepatitis C virus (HCV) and tuberculosis (two of the most significant coinfections for people living with HIV today), as well as updates on the continuing search for an HIV vaccine and cure.

Conference activities slated for Monday, July 21, include presentations on the latest trends in HIV epidemiology and cure research, the global response to AIDS, prevention strategies, HIV criminalization and more. The AIDS 2014 Global Village also kicked off on Monday; this special section showcases community-related HIV programs and activities from around the world.

For more updates on the AIDS 2014 conference, check out #AIDS2014 or @AIDS_conference on Twitter, or visit the IAS website here.