Casey House has opened Canada’s first HIV-positive restaurant in downtown Toronto, to get people talking about the stigmas faced by people living with HIV and AIDS. The two-day pop-up restaurant is open from November 7-8 and staffed solely by HIV+ kitchen staff.
The idea for pop-up was developed after a recent survey revealed that only half of Canadians would knowingly share food with or eat food that was prepared by someone who is HIV positive. The survey also revealed that 70% of Canadians, if tested HIV+, would be nervous or ashamed to share their health news openly – and that number jumps to 79% for millennials.
To help raise awareness about the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS Casey House, Canada’s first and only standalone hospital dedicated to those living with the disease, opened the doors to June’s HIV+ Eatery. The menu for the eatery was developed by renowned local Chef Matt Basile (pictured above), the creator of the widely popular Toronto-based street-food brand Fidel Gastro’s and 14 HIV positive patients-turned-cooks.
“In my opinion, nothing brings people together like sharing a meal,” Basile recently told with IN Magazine. “This very, very important initiative will be one of the most talked about dinner events ever in Toronto, not just because of the menu, but because of this restaurant’s purpose. Despite how knowledgeable we are about HIV and AIDS, it’s hard to believe that the fear of contracting it through food still exists.”
Two to three people living in Ontario are diagnosed with HIV each day, and 25 per cent of new infections are among Canadian adults under 30.
June’s HIV+ Eatery will pop up at 1090 Queen Street West in Toronto (at Dovercourt) from November 7-8. For information on June’s HIV+ Eatery or Casey House's Break Bread Smash Stigma campaign, visit juneseatery.ca.