Panel of AIDS Memorial Quilt to be on display

From staff reports

Clarion University and the Northwest Pennsylvania Rural AIDS Alliance will mark World AIDS Day by displaying a panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday in the Gemmell rotunda.

Emily Crofoot, supervisor of high-impact prevention for the alliance, a division of Clarion University, will be on hand to talk about the quilt and provide information about HIV and AIDS.

“The purpose of the quilt is to honor those who have passed away from HIV/AIDS, to educate the community and reduce the stigma of the disease,” Crofoot said.

According to the National AIDS Memorial website, 32 years ago during the height of the AIDS epidemic, a group of strangers gathered at a San Francisco storefront to remember the names and lives of their loved ones they feared history would forget. That led to the creation of the quilt’s first panels.

The quilt consists of more than 50,000 3-by-6-foot memorial panels commemorating more than 105,000 lives lost to AIDS.

“Education on the disease, prevention methods and the importance of getting tested is the current message the prevention team is sharing,” Crofoot said. “We use the quilt at different organizations, schools and community events to answer questions and provide facts about HIV/AIDS. It is no longer a death sentence; with medication, those infected with HIV/AIDS are living long, healthy lives.”

The alliance, which serves people living with HIV and those co-infected with HIV and the hepatitis C virus, works in unison with communities of northwest Pennsylvania. Services include medical case management, specialty clinics/care, patient care services and high-impact prevention.