Health, Hardship, and Renewal: Economic Strategies among Black Women Living with HIV/AIDS

Award Year:
Celeste Watkins-Hayes
People with HIV are living longer than ever before, giving us a new window on chronic illness and economic hardship. How do poor and working-class black women with HIV continue to make ends meet and take care of themselves as their disease progresses? Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Ph.D. collects the first longitudinal ethnographic data to study the economic and social survival strategies these women use to get by. In her project, Health, Hardship, and Renewal: Economic Survival Strategies among Black Women Living with HIV, Dr. Watkins-Hayes examines employment opportunities and barriers, disability benefits, access to a complicated array of public services and providers, help from family and friends, and other informal sources of support. She also investigates how survival efforts might promote or undermine the health and well being of disadvantaged black women with HIV, and whether they are at increased risk of becoming homeless, engaging in prostitution or drug dealing, or being exposed to other infectious diseases. Research findings should help advance our understanding of the economic and social challenges that women coping with HIV/AIDS must face.