The AIDS 2014 conference started under a dark cloud in Melbourne.

The tragic attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine killed close to 300 including up to 8 would-be attendees of the global HIV/AIDS conference this week.

Among the dead were researchers, experts and passionate advocates for true global improvement through the end of deadly disease.

Prominent local researcher Dr David Cooper has written about the death of colleague, role model and researcher Joep Lange.

The callousness and irrationality with which lives were ended is matched only by the loss and regret of their passing.

But the conference has gone on, and the world of AIDs research will continue on a path worthy of untarnished recognition and praise.

HIV/AIDS research is striding towards an incredible new era, and the various talks, presentations and rallies at the conference this week will show just how far treatment has come and which exciting new avenues it may take in the future.

Australian researchers will present the case of two HIV-positive men now deemed clear of the virus after bone marrow transplants. 

Former High Court judge Michael Kirby spoke at the opening of the conference, calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to take a leadership role in the fight. 

Director of the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Dr David Cooper, has written about the death of central Dutch HIV/AIDS researcher Dr Joep Lange.

And Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, an author on the first study reporting the discovery of HIV and president of the International AIDS Society has spoken to Australia’s Professor Rob Moodie about the situation in the AIDS research community and the encouragement for studies.