The AIDS Memorial Quilt, comprising more than 47,000 panels that honor more than 93,000 people, will be displayed in its entirety July 21-25, during the International AIDS Conference in the District of Columbia. Before that, sections of it can be seen during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival starting June 27 -- the 25th anniversary of the first quilt display in San Francisco, when it had just 40 panels.
Three new interactive digital tools are being introduced to help people explore the quilt and understand its significance. At the Smithsonian festival, a four-foot-long table with an interactive touchscreen will be available for users to search for panels by name. Also, there will be a 50-inch wall screen with an interactive timeline of the quilt and the AIDS epidemic. Finally, a mobile app will be available for www.aidsquilttouch.org, a website where visitors can search, view, and comment on the panels. During the AIDS conference, visitors can use the app to find the physical location of panels displayed on the National Mall and in more than 50 venues around Washington.
Ann Balsamo, a professor of interactive media and communication at the University of Southern California, is coordinating the digital project, developed by several universities and Microsoft. "The quilt is a very important, but fragile memorial," she said, adding that the new technology will make it available to a wider audience.
The Names Project Foundation is the custodian of the quilt. According to Julie Rhoad, president of the Atlanta-based foundation, the quilt is a reminder that people with HIV still matter and that the disease still kills. Despite great advances in treatment, she noted, "Those who have no access to care are dying rapid, hard deaths, and they are invisible."
For more information, visit www.Quilt2012.org.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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