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Iconic AIDS Memorial Quilt to go on display

We’re excited to be teaming up with HIV charities across the UK to curate the largest public exhibition of AIDS memorial quilts in over 25 years.

Taking place in London in early July, the UK AIDS Memorial Quilts exhibition aims to honour the lives of those lost to HIV, show solidarity with people living with the condition, and highlight how much progress has been made. 

The quilts are incredible pieces of social history, with 384 individual panels dedicated to the memory of people from across the UK who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS in the 80s and 90s. 

Each panel in the quilt was created by friends and family of those lost, as a way to tell their story and keep their memory alive. Alongside the quilt itself, many of the panels also include other keepsakes, including letters and photographs, connecting us closer to the individuals themselves. 

The exhibit coincides with the 40th anniversary of the world’s first HIV diagnosis, and will be the largest of its kind to feature the memorial quilts since the Quilts of Love display in Hyde Park in June 1994. 

In the years immediately following that event, the introduction of new drugs revolutionised HIV treatment, setting us on the road to where we are today, with HIV being considered a manageable long-term health condition. Today’s HIV treatments not only allow people to live long healthy lives – they can also help to prevent the spread of HIV itself by reducing the levels of the virus in the body to undetectable levels

Alongside keeping alive the memory of the people we’ve lost, we hope that the quilt exhibition will allow us to raise awareness of how far we have come

We are proud to be part of the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt Partnership alongside our friends at George House Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust, Positive East, The Food Chain, Positively UK and Sahir House. Our thanks go to Fast-Track Cities London, who are supporting the event. 

The UK AIDS Memorial Quilts exhibition will be open on:   

What they said… 

‘It’s a Sin’ cast member and HIV activist Nathaniel Hall:  “In the era of HIV medication and with all our eyes firmly on the goal of ending new transmissions by 2030 it is important to take time out to reflect on our recent history. The quilt is our community's connection to the past, to the lives cut tragically short by HIV. In the midst of another global pandemic, taking a moment to pause with the quilt reminds us of the human cost of HIV both here in the UK and across the world, whilst allowing us space to dream of a future free from HIV”. 

The author and activist Paul Burston remembers gathering with others to make a quilt panel for his friend Vaughan Michael Williams  

“I first met Vaughan in 1987. He was the first person with HIV I knew personally - the first of far too many. Someone suggested we make a quilt panel in his memory. It was very emotional. It was people coming together to express their love and shared sense of loss. The quilt is such a powerful reminder of all the lives lost to AIDS. We need to remember them”.  

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: 

“Since the virus was first identified 40 years ago, HIV/AIDS has had a devastating impact on communities in London and across the world. Millions have tragically died, and many have had to live with the stigma of what was once a terminal diagnosis. These quilts serve both as a memorial to those we have lost, as well as a reminder of the suffering that is still faced today. Infections continue and those living with undiagnosed HIV are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. I have pledged to do everything in my power to end new transmissions of HIV in London by 2030, and I am confident that we can achieve this if we continue to work together.” 

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