LAKE WORTH, Fla. — A memorial quilt to remember the lives lost to AIDS is now on display at the Compass Center in Lake Worth.
It is the largest piece of folk art in the world. People can see 19 out of the 50,000 panels at the center. Each panel represents loved ones who have lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including local families.
The National AIDS Memorial said 40 years into the aids pandemic, more than 700,000 lives have been lost in the U.S. and more than a million people live with the disease.
The ever-evolving project aims to inspire activism and education.
“In the 80s and 90s, it was called the gay disease, which it is not. Anybody can contract HIV and AIDS. So, knowing your status is really important. We conduct HIV testing here at Compass. You get results in 15 minutes. If you are positive, you get right and care,” said Julia Murphy, chief development officer at Compass Center. “So, the sooner you’re getting care, the better it is for you and anybody else that may contract the disease. The number one rate of people who contract the disease is actually black heterosexual women. So, we want to provide education and information to people to know that if they are at risk, come get tested.”
People can visit the memorial during Compass’ business hours. It runs until Dec. 15.