This Pop-Up Restaurant Is Working To #SmashStigma By Hiring Only HIV Positive Employees, But The Concept Received Mixed Reviews

The negative reactions to June’s HIV+ Eatery prove the stigma surrounding the virus is alive and well.

A pop-up restaurant in Toronto is stirring up much controversy due to its noble concept of working to end the stigma surrounding HIV.

On Nov. 7 and Nov. 8, patrons of June’s HIV+ Eatery enjoyed a four-course dinner prepared only by chefs who are HIV-positive. Chef Matt Basile of the Lisa Marie bar helped train the cooks for their big nights, reported People.

The pop-up restaurant was created with the sole intention of disproving any rumors and myths about how the virus is spread. The two-night event worked to show people that HIV is not spread through touch or through food.   

The 14 chefs wore aprons with phrases like “Judge the cooking, not the cook” and “Think you can get HIV from food? Bite me.”

Toronto’s specialty HIV and AIDS hospital, Casey’s House, helped sell $125 tickets to the specialty dinner.

“For many people living with HIV, it’s the stigma that hurts the most,” read a press release from the restaurant. “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.”

  • News of the restaurant resulted in praise from many people

  • However, some voiced criticism of the concept and said they would not eat there

  • On Twitter, Casey House – the hospital which helped open the eatery – pointed out that the negative comments only prove why the restaurant was needed

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