DES MOINES, Iowa - In Iowa, it’s reported that 2,000 people are living with HIV.
Malaysian Airlines flight 17 which was shot down from the skies of Ukraine, killed all 298 passengers on board. It’s reported 100 of those were some of the world’s leading AIDS researchers. They were traveling to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia to discuss medical advancement and ways to cope with HIV.
Iowans say the loss is a major medical setback that could affect the HIV community for years to come.
“We lost some of the best minds around HIV. We`re so close to a cure, so to lose those people is horrific,” says Executive Director of One Iowa, Donna Red Wing.
An Urbandale man living with HIV for 28 years says, “these researchers are the type of people the world can’t afford to lose.” Gary Moore says the setback will affect the younger HIV generation more than anyone else.
“This could have been somebody on that plane who could have maybe found a cure that would have saved millions.”
Despite the loss, the HIV/ AIDS community says it’s still hopeful.
“If the HIV community was going to lose hope, they would have lost it a long time ago. This is a community that is so resilient it is so committed to the work,” laughs Red Wing.
Iowa is being represented at the international conference. Des Moines Senator Matt McCoy, Iowa’s only openly gay legislator, is in attendance.