Emory Report
November 23, 2009
Volume 23, Number 11


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November 23, 2009
Quilt on the Quad covers devastation of AIDS

By Beverly Clark

The Quad will once again be filled with the vibrant patchwork of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on World AIDS Day Dec. 1 in an 800-panel display that is a somber reminder of the millions of lives lost to the disease.

The fifth annual Quilt on the Quad, sponsored by Emory Hillel, takes place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and will be the largest collegiate display and the second largest in the world that day. In the event of rain, Quilt on the Quad will be held on the fourth floor of the Woodruff P.E. Center.

“The AIDS Quilt helps bring more than statistics to the HIV/AIDS epidemic; the quilt brings a personal, emotional touch to the individuals whose lives were lost,” says Emory College sophomore Alexey Abramov, co-organizer of Quilt on the Quad for Emory Hillel. “Until you really see the panels laid out on the campus quad with your own eyes, it’s hard to imagine just how traumatic and devastating this disease truly is. It illustrates how HIV/AIDS does not just hurt just the individuals suffering from it, but their friends, families and communities.”

The opening ceremony at 11 a.m. will feature a keynote talk by Sandra Thurman, president and CEO of the International AIDS Trust based in Atlanta at the Rollins School of Public Health. She is one of the world's leading experts on AIDS issues, and in 1997 President Bill Clinton appointed her as director of the Office of National AIDS Policy. She also is a former director of AID Atlanta. Following her talk, members of the Emory community will read the names of each individual memorialized by a quilt panel on the quad.

Emory scientists and physicians are at the forefront of research efforts to develop effective drugs and vaccines against HIV and AIDS. The Emory Center for AIDS Research is an official National Institutes of Health CFAR site. More than 120 faculty throughout Emory are working on some aspect of HIV/AIDS prevention or treatment.

Many of the scientists within the Emory Vaccine Center are focused on finding an effective vaccine against HIV, and a vaccine developed at the Vaccine Center and Yerkes National Primate Research Center is being tested nationally in a Phase II clinical trial. More than 94 percent of HIV patients in the U.S. on life saving antiviral therapy take a drug developed at Emory University.

The NAMES Project Foundation Inc. is the international curator of The AIDS Memorial Quilt, headquartered in Atlanta.