Thirty years since the outbreak of the HIV epidemic, the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt was on public display in Westminster Hall to commemorate the lives of those lost.
The exhibition “People and Parliament: Remembering 30 Years of HIV and AIDS” saw six of the quilts go on display, to look back at how far we’ve come with HIV since the 1980s, but how much more there is still left to do.
The UK quilt panels were on display in Parliament for one week only from 27 November, including World AIDS Day on 1 December, as part of an exhibition looking at parliaments role in the HIV epidemic, from the iconic 1987 tombstone adverts through to present day home HIV testing.
The UK AIDS Memorial Quilt is an irreplaceable piece of international social history and tells the stories of people whose lives were lost at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.
Hundreds of individuals made quilt panels in memory of loved ones who had died from AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, inspired by a global project that started in America.
The historic display has been organised by a coalition of charities including George House Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust, Positive East, The Food Chain, Positively UK and Sahir House, with support from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on HIV – the oldest APPG. The charities hope the exhibitions will help remember those lost and raise awareness of HIV to younger generations.
HIV no longer stops those living with the virus leading long and healthy lives – but there is still much to be done to support those living with HIV, tackle stigma and diagnose the 1 in 6 who are unaware they have the virus.
Get involved on social media using the hashtag #AIDSQuiltUK
Stephen Doughty MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS said:
The exhibition is both a remarkable visual testimony to the thousands of lives lost to AIDS and an important reflection on Parliament’s role throughout the HIV epidemic from the iconic 1987 tombstone adverts through to latest innovations such as HIV home testing.
The UK AIDS Memorial Quilt is an irreplaceable piece of international social history which tells the stories of people whose lives were lost particularly at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. This exhibition must serve as a reminder of how far we have come in treating HIV/AIDS in the UK and the important role which Parliament has played and continues to play in ending the epidemic, but also how much more remains to be done in the UK and globally.
Allan Anderson, of Positively UK one of the AIDS Memorial Quilt Partners added:
There is much cause to celebrate advances in HIV treatment and care. Through the U=U campaign we’re raising of how treatments reduce the levels of HIV so that a person living with the condition has no risk of transmitting it to a sexual partner. People living with HIV now have a normal life expectancy as the general population and we’re getting more people tested than ever before. However we still need to remember how far we have come, those we lost along the way and take time to commemorate those individuals on World AIDS Day.