Introduction to NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt

First off, my prior knowledge on HIV/AIDS is very limited. Most of my knowledge of the disease was acquired in Physical Education classes during the 7th and 8th grade. I do know that HIV/AIDS was an epidemic that started in America in the 1960’s and grew exponentially. By the 1980’s and 90’s it had affected millions across the United States.

After watching a video on the first unveiling of the NAMES Project Memorial Quilt and an informational video on the quilt, I have learned some interesting new information on HIV/AIDS, specifically the community of those affected by the disease. According to the official page of the NAMES Project Foundation the breakout of HIV in the United States started in San Francisco. In 1987 a group of people who had lost loved ones to the disease came together to create a memorial to those they had lost. The idea of a quilt as a memorial came from San Francisco gay rights activist Cleve Jones. In 1985 he had posted on the San Francisco Federal Building placards containing the names of people who had died from the disease. The image made him think of a quilt. Thus, the quilt was born.

A quilt is an appropriate memorial for the victims of HIV/AIDS. Just as a quilt is diverse in patterns and textures and designs, so is the community of those affected by HIV/AIDS. I have learned that the disease does not target one demographic, anyone can be affected. It is important to remember the lives lost and devastated by HIV/AIDS so that we can try to prevent this from happening in the future.

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