During Black History Month, the National AIDS Memorial is honoring Black lives lost to AIDS with a specially curated selection of 56 blocks of the AIDS Memorial Quilt (the Quilt), a press release announced.
"This virtual exhibition shares stories of hope, healing and remembrance to honor Black lives lost to AIDS," said National AIDS Memorial Executive Director John Cunningham. "Our hope is that it helps raise greater awareness about the ongoing struggle with HIV and the impact systemic barriers have to positive health outcomes, particularly among the Black community."
In the 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported, Black Americans and communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by AIDS. By 1993, HIV was the leading cause of death for Black men between the ages 25-44 and, by 2004, HIV became the leading cause of death for Black women in the same age group. In 2018, Black Americans made up 42% of the nearly 38,000 new HIV diagnoses in the country, with half of those living in Southern states.
Some of the featured stories in the exhibition include Black children who lost their lives to AIDS; Black celebritiesmusicians, artists, designers, journalistslost to AIDS; and Black men and women who passed away due to the disease.
The Black History Month exhibition coincides with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (#NBHAAD) on Feb. 7. The exhibition is free to the public and can be viewed at AIDSMemorial.org through March 31 Visitors to the site can also view all 48,000 panels of the Quilt and search for the names of loved ones who have a panel made in their memory.
Partners for the Black History Month AIDS Memorial Quilt Virtual Exhibition include the Black AIDS Institute, Gilead Sciences and Vivent Health.