Charities mark World AIDS Day with memorial quilt exhibition across London

Red Ribbon for World AIDS Day. Pic:

Red Ribbon for World AIDS Day. Pic: Sham Hardy

Six charitable organisations will mark World Aids Day this weekend with an exhibition across London of a patchwork quilt made in memory of AIDS victims, parts of which will be on display in Stepney, east London.

The Stephen exhibition will be at Positive East, east London’s largest HIV charity. Other parts of the quilt will also be on show at various other centres across London, including St Paul’s Cathedral and St John’s Bethnal Green, some of them for the first time in more than 30 years. For a full list of venues, click here.

“The quilt was made in the 80s and early 90s, as a memorial to the lives lost during that time to Aids and Aids-related illnesses,” said Mark Santos, the Positive East Executive Director. “It was made by the family, friends and lovers of the people who died.”

UK AIDS Memorial Quilt. Photo: Mark Santos

UK AIDS Memorial Quilt. Pic: Mark Santos

The quilt consists of at least 44 twelve foot by twelve foot panels, each made up of eight smaller panels. This is the first time since 1984 that some of the panels will be on public display.

Santos also said: “The quilt is not only about remembering and celebrating the lives that were lost. It is also about thinking how far we’ve come over the past decades and a reminder that HIV is still with us.”

UK AIDS Memorial Quilt. Photo: Mark Santos

UK AIDS Memorial Quilt. Pic: Mark Santos

In addition to the exhibition of the quilt, Positive East will also be hosting a series of talks, including one in collaboration with the East London Out Project. There will also be a film screening – 30 years of HIV – on December 3, followed by a discussion on the subject.

There are a range of organisations involved with the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt including George House Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust and The Food Chain. According to a Public Health England report, nearly 90,000 people, including a number of children under the age of 15, received HIV specialist care in 2015. Over 90 per cent of those people lived in England and 46 per cent live in London.

HIV testing week in London during November saw some local clinics turning away patients.

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