The Names Project : Aids Quilt This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The AIDS Quilt is a traveling, "living" memorial to those who have died of AIDS.

The quilt was founded in California in 1987 by a group of homosexual men who had either been tested as HIV positive or had lost someone to AIDS. They envisioned a memorial that would show not only the immensity of the problem, but also the diversity of its victims.

Formulating an official mission, their aim was to list the names behind the statistics of the thousands dying, to help grieving families feel better by expressing their sorrow creatively and to raise money for distribution to AIDS charities throughout the world. They refused, however, to charge admission to see the quilt. Instead they set up donation boxes and sold paraphernalia such as AIDS documentary videos and t-shirts.

The first showing of the quilt in its entirety was in October 1987 when the complete quilt was 1920 panels, most of which represented homosexual men. By October 1988 there were 8,288 panels showing people from all walks of life. This year it contains over 22,000 panels representing at least 30 nations.

Today's statistics are very different from those of the quilt's first showing. Today, children's panels are the fastest growing number. Consequently, teenagers 16 to 19 years old have been targeted for AIDS prevention education, since they are the most at risk.

The saddest part of the whole scenario is that AIDS can be prevented. If you avoid having sex, or at least have "safer sex," and do not share a needle if you take IV drugs, you should be safe. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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