ALTOONA – The AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display Nov. 17 through Dec. 1 in the atrium of the Outpatient Center of Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. The display is sponsored by Altoona Regional, Home Nursing Agency and Penn State Altoona.
The quilt will be on display to the public between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days a week. On Nov. 29, an educational program about the quilt will be held at Penn State Altoona at 6:30 p.m. in the Slep TV Lounge. Participants will then travel by AMTRAN bus to the hospital to view the quilt. This will be followed by a brief discussion in the Cambria Room of the Outpatient Center.
The quilt display is just one of many events taking place in the two weeks leading up to World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. A public silent auction to benefit the Home Nursing Agency AIDS Intervention Project will be held the evening of Dec. 1 at Penn State Altoona. The auction follows a catered, fundraising dinner for which tickets are now on sale. The tickets cost $25 for adults, $10 for students, and are available through the Student Affairs Office in the Slep Student Center at Penn State Altoona. For more information, call Penn State Altoona at 949-5053.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt began in 1987 as a way to create a memorial for people who had died of AIDS and in doing so help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. The first display of 40 panels was shown in June 1987. Just four months later, 1,920 panels were exhibited in its first national display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Half a million people visited the quilt that weekend.
The quilt has continued to grow and to visually illustrate the numbers lost to the AIDS epidemic. It’s a tool to bring names to statistics, to humanize the devastation and threat of AIDS and unify a generation in the struggle against this disease, according to the NAMES Project Foundation, which organizes quilt displays and preserves the quilt. Today, the quilt has approximately 46,000 panels and weighs more than 54 tons. There are more than 83,440 names on the quilt, which represent approximately 17.5 percent of all U.S. AIDS-related deaths.