Activist Cleve Jones began The AIDS Memorial Quilt in 1987. 1,920 panels were first displayed in the nation’s capital during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987, to highlight the scale of the epidemic. By 2007, the Quilt included more than 46,000 panels representing over 80,000 people and it continues to grow. It is a memorial to those lost to AIDS, a tool for preventing new HIV infections, and the world’s largest ongoing community art project.
Each section of the AIDS Quilt is twelve feet square, and typically consists of eight individual three foot by six foot panels sewn together. There are currently more than 40,000 panels, and virtually every one of them memorializes the life of a person lost to AIDS.
Throughout its history, The AIDS Memorial Quilt has been used to fight prejudice, raise awareness and funding, as a means to link hands with the global community in the struggle against AIDS, and as an effective tool in HIV and AIDS education and prevention.