A restaurant with a fingerprintable AIDS prevention system

Written by By Jorn Madslien, CNN Hong Kong

Heading to family reunions and restaurant dinners without one or both parents and children can be disappointing.

The MeToo movement is creating a greater awareness that girls and women are vulnerable and deserve to be protected. But what if parents could ensure a safe meal without feeling guilty?

Architects Alec Rowley and Sarah Mangelsdorf have created a concept for allowing children to enjoy the fun of a family meal while meeting their families’ HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment goals.

Based on the current strategy for HIV prevention, such as needle exchange and adherence programs, Rowley and Mangelsdorf say the family meal can be an amazing opportunity to bond, help combat HIV and attract new clients.

A family members’ HIV/AIDS prevention or treatment goals can be displayed with a photo or a sticker. Credit: Rowley and Mangelsdorf

The concept is based on research that concluded going to family gatherings or meals is a cause for social connectedness and feeling good about oneself, according to a press release.

“It’s unusual to go to a public restaurant to meet family because you feel like you can’t spread the virus to others,” says Alfonso Upegui , a senior consulting engineer from Puerto Rico , where the Indis restaurant will open its first mainland location. “But seeing the sticker was completely unexpected and something we’ve never seen in any of the restaurants we’ve tried in New York City.”

At a family meal with friends and loved ones, talking and socializing can foster relationships that can decrease the likelihood of acquiring HIV. A Google study found that in adults who have a healthier social life, such as a person who puts in effort to support themselves and a relationship, the likelihood of HIV/AIDS infection decreases.

For parents with HIV, it is difficult to avoid infecting others while trying to figure out ways to prevent their child from exposure to HIV.

“With the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the stigma surrounding it, we knew we had to find a way to work to reduce fear,” says Rowley, a former NYC officer who is now CEO of ArchStudio. “We didn’t want to include people who are HIV positive — and it is very hard to treat someone who’s HIV positive because it doesn’t work. This is more of a solution that can work for both sides.”

As part of the Family Meals program, the logo “Family Meals” appears as a sticker on the backside of a special table. Credit: Rowley and Mangelsdorf

The Indis Family Meals logo is displayed on the backside of the table to provide a deterrent in those who may want to collect the HIV/AIDS prevention or treatment goals.

From a design perspective, the table is reminiscent of the placemats found in many traditional, family-style restaurants. It’s simple and informal, showing friendly faces and faces of guests.

In the restaurant, families and friends can see the plate, use the crumbs tablecloth, absorb their meal and enjoy company while offering moral support, explains Rowley.

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