May 21, 2017, International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day, marks the launch of the “AIDS Quilt Online” memorial that pays tribute to the people who were taken from us by the epidemic as well as the activists who have dedicated their lives to the fight.
This year the NAMES Project Foundation celebrates its 30 year anniversary. Back in 1987, Cleve Jones, the man behind the foundation, took the tradition of sewing blankets in memory of someone close and transformed it into the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Stitched from a multitude of fragments, each symbolizing a person’s interrupted life, the quilt became one of the iconic symbols of the AIDS response. Tens of thousands of memorial panels were sewn by friends, loved ones and family members.
“AIDS Quilt Online” project continues this tradition by allowing everybody the opportunity to create an online quilt with the instruments on the website. Each and every fragment will be put together to form one big digital canvas.
Since the beginning of the epidemic around 36 million people have died from AIDS-related diseases. With the roll out of antiretroviral therapy starting in the mid 1990’s HIV was transformed from a fatal disease to a chronic illness. If a person knows they have HIV and starts treatment immediately, they can live as long as a person without the virus. However, AIDS continues to take away the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children every year – fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues. HIV can affect any age, gender, skin color, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. HIV can affect anyone, even people who think that they will never be affected.
We invite you to become part of the AIDSquiltonline.org project!