Today is World AIDS Day. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDs, show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have died.
Te Papa holds the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt which is made up of 16 large blocks of usually 8 panels each. Each panel represents a person who died of AIDS, and was made by family members, partners and/or friends.
The aim of the Quilt is to raise awareness and enable loved ones to express feelings of love, loss and regret in a permanent and tangible way.
World AIDS Day reminds everyone that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
You can see safe sex condoms on display in Contraception: Uncovering the collection of Dame Margaret Sparrow in the Ilott Room on level 4 of Te Papa. You can also hear Dame Margaret talk about the advent and impact of HIV / AIDS in the 1980s.
Many visitors have given advice in the exhibition to use condoms and be safe. My favourite is ‘Be Wise, Condomise’.