"Red Bees", like quilting bees, was a way to gather and create red ribbons by the thousands for national distribution.  Early ribbon bees consisted of Artists' Caucus members, friends and supporters, but grew to include others in the community.  At a ribbon bee,  individuals would cut, fold and pin ribbons together. 

In 1992, artists Hope Sandow and Frank Moore organized the Armory Ribbon Bee Project, in which homeless women at the Park Avenue Shelter were paid weekly to make tens of thousands of ribbons.  This continued off-and-on for several years as a way to both produce large quantity of ribbons and help support the women in the shelter. 


Ribbon bees continue to be great format to share information about HIV and raise AIDS awareness.  Creating a ribbon bee circle at schools, LGBT clubs, women's groups, and even book clubs, is the perfect way to open dialogs around sex education, HIV criminalization, access to health care, PEP & PrEP, testing, disclosure, the global AIDS crisis and more. Ribbons can also be assembles and attached with lapel pins and buttons. 


  • Select a time and location. (Set aside at least 2 hours for a bee.)
  • Invite friends, volunteers, community members, family, classmates, work mates to participate (A bee can be as intimate as 5 people, and as large as 100 people.)
  • Purchase a spool of ribbon at your local fabric shop or craft store.  You will also need scissors and safety pins or you can use buttons with pin backs.
  • Cut ribbons in strips of 6 inches each, then fold in half with a loop at the top.  Use a pin or button to hold ribbons together at the middle.  (You can download instructions below)
  • While making ribbons, start a conversation on a topics relate to HIV / AIDS that is important to you.  The host of the event might want to start out by ready some current information, stats or local story on HIV/AIDS.   
  • Take pictures of the bee. Tweet, facebook, instragram or blog about the experience. #aidsisnotover

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