To honor those lost to AIDS, the Burlington County Health Department will be hosting an AIDS Memorial Quilt Panel Making Session on Thursday, June 27. The Health Department is looking for eight people who would like to create their own panel in honor of a loved one which would eventually become part of a dedicated Burlington County/Southern Jersey 12-by-12-foot quilt block.
“It is important that we continue to honor and remember those lost to AIDS. We are encouraging the community to come out participate in this quilt making event to spread awareness on this important topic,” said Freeholder Daniel O’Connell, liaison to the Health Department. “Our health department does an incredible job with their health outreach efforts, and we hope residents will take advantage of the free programs that they offer.”
The AIDS Memorial Quilt began in San Francisco in June 1987 when a small group of people gathered to honor those lost to AIDS. Today, the AIDS Memorial Quilt is a powerful reminder of the AIDS pandemic with more than 48,000 individual 3-by-6-foot panels sewn together to commemorate the life of someone who has died from AIDS.
Participants will gather on June 27, National HIV Testing Day, to sew their individual panels. Once all panels are completed, they will be shipped to the NAMES Project Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia for final assembly into the 12-by-12-foot block. Those interested in participating should contact the Health Department at 609-265-5548.
The Health Department will also expand their confidential HIV/AIDS testing and counseling hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on National HIV Testing Day to encourage residents to get tested and learn about HIV prevention.
“It is crucial that we educate our residents about the importance of knowing their HIV status, and ways to prevent the disease,” concluded Burlington County Health Department Director Dr. Herb Conaway. “HIV screening is recommended for patients in all health-care settings after the patient is notified that testing will be performed unless the patient declines (opt-out screening).”
The dedicated Burlington County/Southern Jersey 12-by-12-foot quilt block will be unfurled in December 2019 along with other World AIDS Day events.
To learn more about the AIDS Memorial Quilt and specifics on making a panel, visit www.aidsquilt.org. To sign up for the AIDS Memorial Quilt panel making session please call 609-265-5548. For information about HIV testing at the Health Department, please call 609-265-5533 or visit www.co.burlington.nj.us/1331/HIVAIDS.