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AIDS Memorial Quilt comes to Washington

Saturday - 6/23/2012, 10:27am  ET

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Sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt are going on display beginning Wednesday during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
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WASHINGTON - The AIDS Memorial Quilt is in Washington.

Five trucks carrying the quilt arrived Saturday morning. Sections of the quilt are going on display beginning Wednesday during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. About 8,000 panels will be on display during the festival.

Another 40,000 panels will be on display at various times during the AIDS 2012 international conference being held in Washington from July 21 to July 25.

The quilt was started in 1987 as a memorial to people who died from AIDS. Each section was created by the family and friends of someone who died from the disease.

Twenty five years after it was made, the quilt now holds the names of more than 93,000 victims of the disease.

"It would take 33 days to view the entire quilt if you were viewing each panel for just one minute," says Annie Grayber, executive producer of Quilt in the Capitol 2012.

The quilt currently measures 1.3 million square feet and weighs 54 tons. It is now too large to display all at once on the National Mall.

Parts of the quilt will make the rounds in the region, including St. Paul Lutheran's Church in Northwest D.C., Eastern Market and Arena Stage, Grayber says.

In D.C., two to three people are infected with HIV each day, according to the District's HIV/AIDS Administration.

WTOP's Thomas Warren contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 WTOP & The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)