World AIDS Day is held on December 1st each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
But did you know that in June of 1987 a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. This meeting of devoted friends and lovers served as the foundation of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Today this quilt still grows. There are more than 44,000 individual 3-by-6 foot memorial panels commemorating the life of someone who has died of AIDS. It is the largest community art project in the world.
Here are some quick facts.
• Funds Raised by The Quilt for Direct Services for People with AIDS: over $4,000,000 (U.S.)
• Number of visitors to the Quilt: +18,000,000
• Number of names on the Quilt: more than 91,000
• Size: 1,293,300 square feet
• Viewing time: To see the entire Quilt spending only one minute per panel - over 33 days