Watch CBS News

Parts of the AIDS Memorial Quilt returns to Burlington County for the first time in five years

Residents memorialize loved ones as AIDS Memorial Quilt returns to Burlington County
Residents memorialize loved ones as AIDS Memorial Quilt returns to Burlington County 02:16

WESTAMPTON, N.J. (CBS) -- For the first time in five years, parts of the AIDS Memorial Quilt returned to Burlington County on Friday and residents added new panels to the quilt to memorialize loved ones who died from the disease.

Sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display in honor of World AIDS Day at the Burlington County Library through Wednesday.

Josette McCullough's brother, Michael Harrell, is memorialized on one of the panels. He died in 1994 after contracting AIDS following a blood transfusion.

"How honored and grateful I am today to be able to present this panel to him," McCullough said. "To represent his life and leave a legacy for his nieces and nephews of superheroes."

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a national project that began in 1985 to raise awareness about the widespread ongoing impact of the AIDS epidemic.

Agatha Reidy remembered working as a nurse and treating patients with AIDS in the 1980s.

Burlington County, the Burlington County Health Department and the Burlington County Library System commemorated World...

Posted by Burlington County on Friday, December 1, 2023

"It was traumatic because I'm a new nurse," Reidy said. "I wanted to make sure I was meeting their needs, and I also wanted to do it in a compassionate way."

While treatments have improved greatly since the 1980s, Reidy said there's still a major obstacle with how others treat patients.

"I still think we need to make sure that we work on the stigma because it still lives," Reidy said.

McCullough hoped the quilt sections would encourage people to talk more openly about AIDS.

"There's nothing wrong with getting tested before you get involved with someone," McCullough said. "Know your status. It's important. HIV and AIDS is real."

For more information about the Burlington County Health Department's HIV/AIDS testing program, click here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.