Here’s one way to smash stigma: Open a restaurant where all the chefs have HIV. That’s exactly what the Toronto AIDS service provider Casey House did this week with a two-day-only pop-up called June’s HIV+ Eatery.
The effort is part of its new “Break Bread Smash Stigma” campaign to raise awareness and spark conversations. According to a Casey House press release, chef Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro’s trained 14 HIV-positive people to become cooks for the eatery.
“The stigma around HIV and AIDS is still very real, isolating many patients across the city, the country and the globe,” said Casey House client Kenneth Poon in the press release. “I stand proud to be part of this powerful group of 14 HIV-positive chefs to boldly break barriers and end the isolation that I have felt and others continue to feel. Through the compassionate care that I received at Casey House, I made it through those darkest days, and I am here today, helping others who are living with HIV/AIDS.”
Chef Muluba Habanyama, who was born with HIV, told The Guardian that she had experienced stigma firsthand when a mentor forced her to drink out of paper cups while everyone else used glasses. Other chefs profiled in the article about the event also recounted stigma.
What’s one way you CAN get HIV from below? #SmashStigma— Casey House (@caseyhouseTO) November 3, 2017