Dining out for life

Did you know? AIDS fundraiser to be Thursday, Saturday
By Paul Viau | Apr 20, 2012
Photo by: Paul Viau BACON AND AIDS — Dine at Joey’s April 28 and you’ll help fight the spread of AIDS in Western North Carolina.

I apologize in advance for all the acronyms in this column. I don’t like hurling a lot of  initials around, but I am on a mission this week.

You don’t read much about HIV or AIDS these days. And I’m guessing, right now many of you are saying to yourself, “That doesn’t affect me.”

Well — Did you know? — HIV/AIDS remains a global epidemic, and we in Western North Carolina are not “immune” from this ravaging disease.

That’s right, the Great Smoky Mountains don’t form a barrier to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Our altitude and the slightly thinner mountain air doesn’t provide any protection.

And one thing that can help us prevent HIV/AIDS is sadly lacking in WNC — awareness.

So I’m going to do my small part to help inform you. First of all, you should know what HIV is. The initials stand for human immunodeficiency virus. This virus compromises the human body’s normal ability to fight disease. People can be HIV-positive for more than a decade before the disease develops into full-blown AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Did you know? — More than 1 million people in the U.S. are currently living with HIV/AIDS. More than 40,000 new cases are reported each year. Why are the numbers growing? The answer is simple: HIV/AIDS is a STD — a sexually transmitted disease.

If I’m not mistaken, here in WNC people are still engaging in sexual activity. And that presents a risk of STDs.

It just so happens that April is STD Awareness month, and WNCAP — Western North Carolina Aids Project — has stepped up its efforts to educate our mountain population. WNCAP has a simple two-part mission statement — (1) to stop the spread of AIDS in our region, and (2) to offer compassionate care to those already affected.

Theirs is a daunting task, but there is a simple way you can help — "Dining Out For Life."

On Thursday, April 26, all you have to do is dine out at one of the 100-plus participating WNC restaurants. Those restaurants (mostly members of AIR — Asheville Independent Restaurants) will donate 20 percent of your bill to WNCAP.

Participating restaurants are currently displaying a table-tent like the one pictured here, and include Waynesville's Chef's Table, Frogs Leap Public House, Old Stone Inn, Panacea Coffeehouse and Maggie Valley Club.

Take a close look at it, and you’ll notice that another Maggie Valley restaurant is singled out in the display — Joey’s Pancake House.

Joey's is closed every Thursday (including April 26) so they are donating 20 percent of their proceeds on one of their busiest days — Saturday, April 28.

So mark your calendars … suppress your bacon consumption for the time being … and you might even want to hide your griddle … and your girdle.

Eat at Joey’s Saturday, April 28, and you’ll be Dining Out for Life.

And don’t forget to have some of Joey’s incredible hash brown casserole.

Yum! Now that’s my way of generating awareness of HIV/AIDS.