“Kiss the HIV+ Cook” and “I got HIV from pasta. Said no one ever,” read the aprons of the workers at June’s HIV+ Eatery. The restaurant, located in Toronto, hopes to smash the stigmas surrounding the misunderstood virus.
The restaurant was conceived last month in response to a survey in Canada, where only half of the survey’s participants claimed they would consume food that had been prepared by someone with HIV.
"For many people living with HIV, it’s the stigma that hurts the most,” the restaurant released in a statement. “June’s HIV+ Eatery is an opportunity to fight stigma with every bite. To come together in a show of love, support and acceptance, and to dispel the myths about HIV that condemn so many to suffer in silence."
The survey was conducted by Casey House, a nonprofit that works to provide adequate health care for people with HIV/AIDS, who were also behind the restaurant’s materialization.
Soon thereafter, Casey House and June’s started serving meals prepared by HIV-Positive cooks to debunk transmission rumors that food preparation can spread the virus, hence the aforementioned, tongue in cheek uniforms.
However, June’s was not temporary, but rather acted as a pop-up shop that served 200 customers this past Tuesday and Wednesday. Customers paid $125 for a four-course dinner, according to People.
But Joanne Simons, the head of Casey House, hopes to open up more HIV+ eateries worldwide. “We’d love to be able to do it in places like New York and San Francisco and London.”