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World AIDS Conference Under Way in Australia

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe from Mali (C) speaks at a press conference alongside President of the IAS, Francoise Barre-Sinoussi from France (L) and local CPC co-chair Brent Allan in Melbourne, July 20, 2014.

Delegates to the 20th International AIDS Conference assembled in Melbourne, Australia on Monday for the first full day of speeches, seminars and meetings to examine the current state of AIDS research.

About 12,000 delegates, including scientists, activists and people living with the disease will meet through Friday to discuss community responses to HIV and AIDS, and ways to accelerate prevention and treatment.

International AIDS Society President Francoise Barre-Sinoussi called for a moment of silence at the opening ceremony Sunday evening to pay tribute to six delegates who were on the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down over Ukraine last week, killing all 298 on board.

Prominent Dutch researcher and former president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange and World Health Organization spokesman Glenn Thomas were among the victims.

Lange's partner, Jacqueline van Tongeren, Pim de Kuijer of STOP AIDS NOW!, Lucie van Mens and Maria Adriana de Schutter of AIDS Action Europe were also on the flight.