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For the first time in two decades, the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt is being exhibited to the public. It’s now at St Paul’s Cathedral, and is then headed to community venues across London, to commemorate the lives of those lost to the AIDS epidemic.

Hundreds of individuals made quilt panels in memory of loved ones who died from AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, inspired by a global project that started in America.

The UK quilt has been at St Paul’s since the 23rd of November – ahead of the AIDS Quilt Trail which takes place across London on the weekend of December 3 and 4, where people can see individual quilt panels for free at a range of community venues.

Terrence Higgins Trust is proud to be part of the coalition of charities that have worked to display this irreplaceable piece of international social history.

George House Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust, Positive East, The Food Chain, Positively UK and Sahir House, with support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, hope the exhibitions will help remember those lost, raise awareness of HIV to younger generations and help find a permanent home for the quilt to ensure its preservation.
 
David Furnish, who was at St Paul’s to see part of the quilt go on display, said:
 
”The quilt is a reminder of how devastating this disease can be. Statistics can unfortunately become a bit meaningless.

”The first time I saw the quilt I felt the human spirit in each person in every panel and then you start to multiply that in your mind … thinking of the number of people this disease has taken and it’s profoundly moving. It’s a very potent reminder.

”It’s also a reminder of how a society can pull together.”

David observed that while there had been “tremendous advances in medications and treatment” and “we’re now down to one pill a day”, there had been an “alarming rise in new infections in young people.”

“Young people don’t have that concept of loss,” he added.

Elton said in a statement: “The quilt, both here in the UK and in America, is an extraordinarily poignant reminder of just what the AIDS epidemic has done to individual lives, to families and communities. This disease has killed over 35 million people around the planet.

“I’m so moved by the human spirit that weaves that tragedy into something powerful and beautiful to see and touch, and delighted that the Elton John AIDS Foundation was able to support the collaborating charities and bring this project to public notice for World AIDS Day.”