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11 names added to AIDS memorial in Lincoln Park

Eleven more names of people who have died from AIDS were added to The Wall Las Memorias AIDS monument in Lincoln Park today. An artist sandblasted the names from those who died this year, in preparation for World AIDS Day ceremonies planned to take place next week. Hundreds of victims of the HIV virus are already on the monument ad there is space for 7,500 more.

The eight-panel project was inspired by a Quetzalcoatl serpent, an Aztec symbol for rebirth, and snakes down a walkway in the park. Six of its walls are painted with murals, while two are reserved for names.

Program Manager Enrique Topete said the wall in East Los Angeles helps destroy barriers that keep the Latino community from talking about HIV.

"The stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS makes it very difficult for people to actually talk about it, since of course its surrounded by sex, and within the Latino community sex itself is taboo and it’s a very difficult subject to touch upon," Topete said. "I think this event itself assists people and it normalizes, like, it brings it down to home and it helps people talk about the disease itself."

The two walls in the middle of the park will someday hold 7,500 names. New names will be added annually, and unveiled at a special ceremony on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1st.