Health: Considering the History of the AIDS Quilt

 The Story:

In 2019 the AIDS Quilt, formally known as the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, found a home in a San Francisco warehouse It now resides there when it is not being displayed. The quilt began life in 1987, when the contribution of a panel was often the only opportunity that the family of a victim of that terrible disease had to memorialize his memory and process their grief.


Though many panels are the creations of the loved ones of a deceased: others are submitted by fans of a entertainment legend such as Rock Hudson or Freddie Mercury. One of the Mercury panels is made of purple silk, with “Freddie Mercury,” “Queen,” and “1946–1991” in silver applique, along with two pictures of Mercury with Queen.

Like the quilt, AIDS remains very much with us decades since it was a regular subject of headline press coverage.

In Pill Form:

The growth of the AIDS Quilt might well occasion some thoughts about how public health is not the responsibility alone of highly educated and credentialed public health officials. They do important work, but in general public health, like the quilt, comes about family by family in an effort simultaneously individual and collective.

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