AIDS experts' death: A step back in finding cure

St. Petersburg, Florida -- In a sad twist, the Malaysia airlines flight that crashed and killed 298 people is also affecting the more than 35 million people living in the world with AIDS.

On board the flight that went down in eastern Ukraine were about 100 people traveling to a global AIDS conference in Australia.

Some were top AIDS researchers.

Executive Director of the Aids Service association of Pinellas says the plane crash that claimed that lives of nearly 300 in Ukraine, could end up impacting everyone living with HIV.

"Literally the cure for HIV could've been on that plane," says William Harper, Executive Director of the Aids Service Association of Pinellas. "A great loss to the HIV community and a big setback to research," says Harper.

See also: Questions remain in wake of Malaysia Air crash

This information has those living with AIDS very emotional.

"When I heard it, I just took such a huge hit because I think I'm still 10 feet tall and bulletproof," said a woman who asked not to be identified.

She's had HIV for more than 25 years, but her health has begun to deteriorate.

"The thought of what was on that plane, could've let me live another 30 years. To think, not see graduations and drivers licenses."

That's why Harper says they'll continue to support clients here, emotionally, in hopes one day a cure may be found.

"We just need to continue to push forward," says Harper.

Click here if you'd like more information on the Aids service association of Pinellas.

Click here for more information on how to donate to AIDS research.

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