Exploring the economic and social experiences of a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse group of Chicago-area women living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Learn More About Dr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes


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How do HIV-positive individuals gather and use the financial resources and social support necessary to manage their health?

While much is made of the medical transformation of HIV/AIDS from an inevitable death sentence to a chronic illness, little attention has been given to the new economic concerns that have resulted from this change. My research examines how HIV-positive women navigate monetary needs once diagnosed with the disease. The goal of this work is to reveal the relationship between economic strategies and health management in order to determine what arrays of social support and financial assistance from public, private, and non-profit sources provide the stability necessary to allow women to focus on improving their health following an HIV diagnosis.

My research team and I recruited HIV-positive women from various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in this research. In their own words during interviews and through our systematic observation, the project seeks to illuminate how being HIV positive shapes the economic and social contours of women’s lives.

In addition to women living with HIV, we are also studying AIDS service providers to examine how being connected to these institutions can be a crucial step for the economic and social survival of women living with HIV/AIDS.

Visit this website and the HHR Study website to see the latest findings from the study. I share my research through presentations for both academic and lay audiences, scholarly and popular press articles, and a book that I am currently writing. My findings aim to be of interest to people living with HIV/AIDS; city, state, and federal government officials; service providers; and the general public.


A groundbreaking study, the first of its kind! The Health, Hardship,
and Renewal (HHR) research project gathered data from a diverse selection of HIV-positive women between 18-65 years of age across the Chicagoland area. The participants were interviewed about how they:

  • find and access resources for help
  • cope with the financial obstacles they encounter
  • make ends meet to take care of themselves and their families
  • manage their health while paying their bills
  • pursue better economic opportunities through education and work.

Read More

Celeste Watkins-Hayes - Articles

Intersectionality and the Sociology of HIV/AIDS: Past, Present, and Future Research Directions.
2014 read article

The Micro-Dynamics of Support Seeking: The Social and Economic Utility of Institutional Ties for HIV-Positive Women
. 2013 read article

‘Dying From’ to ‘Living With’: Framing Institutions and the Coping Processes
of Black Women Living with HIV/AIDS”

Social Science and Medicine, 2012, 74 read article

Precious: Black Women, Neighborhood HIV/AIDS Risk, and Institutional Buffers

Du Bois Review, 2011, 8, 1read article

“The Social and Economic Context of Black Women Living with HIV/AIDS
in the US: Implications for Research.”

In Sex, Power, and Taboo: Gender and HIV in the Caribbean and Beyond

Ian Randle Publishers, Kingston, Jamaica, 2008read article

Celeste Watkins-Hayes - Commentary & Blog Posts

The Supreme Court's Critical Call on Prostitution and HIV
Posted June 25, 2013 read article

Ending the AIDS Epidemic
Posted November 26, 2012 read article

How Neighborhoods Can Help Poor Black Women Fight AIDS
Posted May 2012 read article

Betwixt and Between: Middle Class Women Living with HIV/AIDS
Posted January 24, 2012 read article

HIV/AIDS And the 99 Percent
Posted December 2, 2011 read article

HIV/AIDS among people of color: Think local, not just global.
Institute for Policy Research News
Northwestern University, 27(1)read article

On scientific skepticism…why it’s best to double (and triple) check,
even when the data fit the profile


Posted June 30, 2011read article