HIV AND AIDS HISTORY
World AIDS Day
Since 1988, 1 December every year is dedicated to World AIDS Day, raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, to show solidarity with people living with HIV, and mourning those who have died.
For many, 1 December is associated with the red ribbon which has become an instantly recognisable symbol.
The red ribbon
The red ribbon is a symbol of solidarity and of the commitment to the fight against HIV and AIDS. The Ribbon Project was conceived in 1991 by Visual AIDS, a New York-based charity group of art professionals that aims to recognize and honour friends and colleagues who have died or are dying of AIDS. The ribbon made its public debut at the 1991 Tony Awards, but since then – in some circles – has become a popular and politically correct fashion statement for celebrities at other awards ceremonies. Because of this popularity, some activists have rightly worried that the ribbon is simply paying lip service to AIDS causes. Nevertheless, it is a powerful symbol for all of us around the world, and a unifying symbol on World AIDS Day (1 December). Today, the red ribbon is an international symbol and, for many, stands for care, concern, hope and support.
AIDS Memorial Quilt UK
The UK AIDS Memorial Quilt tells the stories of many of those lost in the early days of the HIV AIDS epidemic in the 80’s and 90’s. Representing approximately 384 people from all around the UK, there are 48 twelve foot by twelve foot panels, each comprising up to 8 smaller panels. Each panel is approximately 4m sq. Each individual panel commemorates someone who died of AIDS and has been lovingly made by their friends, lovers or family. Lives remembered include those of the writer, Bruce Chatwin; the artist/film maker Derek Jarman; the actors, Ian Charleson and Denham Elliot; gay rights activist, Mark Ashton and the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
Several charities have created the AIDS Memorial Quilt Conservation Partnership, to raise awareness of the quilt, its importance in our history and to restore and conserve the quilt for generations to come: George House Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust, The Food Chain, Sahir House, Positively UK and Positively East.
UK AIDS Memorial Quilt | UK AIDS Memorial Quilt
The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt US
Weighing an estimated 54 (US) tons (48,988 kilograms), the (NAMES Project) AIDS Memorial Quilt is an enormous quilt made as a memorial to celebrate the lives of people who have died of HIV and AIDS, and related illnesses. As of June 2016, the Quilt is composed of more than 49,000 panels on 5,956 blocks (blocks are the twelve foot square building blocks of The Quilt seen at displays). Most blocks are composed of 8 separate panels, remembering the lives of eight individuals lost to AIDS.↑ Back to top