This is Canada’s first HIV pop-up eatery with HIV-positive cooks

Click to play video: 'Pop-up restaurant in Toronto looks to smash stigma about HIV' Pop-up restaurant in Toronto looks to smash stigma about HIV
June’s eatery will be the first of its kind in Toronto – all of the cooks are HIV positive. – Nov 1, 2017

To reduce the stigma that people living with HIV/AIDS experience, a team of more than a dozen HIV-positive cooks will open Canada’s first HIV pop-up eatery in Toronto this week. 

Led by chef Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro in Toronto, a team of 14 HIV-positive cooks aim to debunk myths surrounding the condition, by playing hosts to a two-day dinner party at June’s, where they’ll serve a four-course meal.

READ MORE: Are we still afraid of HIV? What the infection rates in Canada tell us

The restaurant is named after prolific Canadian activist and journalist June Callwood, who founded the Casey House, Canada’s first stand-alone hospital for people living with HIV/AIDS.

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The results of a survey show that despite the strides made in treating the condition, the myths and confusion over HIV/AIDS persist: Of 1,633 Canadian residents surveyed, only half of respondents said they would knowingly share or eat food prepared by someone who is HIV-positive, despite the fact that the disease cannot be transmitted through food preparation. 

READ MORE: Ontario family warns others: Their regular dental visit resulted in HIV tests

“My hope for June’s is that the experience leaves a lasting impression and will help to continue to break down barriers around stigma,” said Joanne Simons, CEO of Casey House.

The pop-up will take place at 1090 Queen Street W., in Toronto from November 7 to 8. 

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