Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

PRECIOUS: Black Women, Neighborhood HIV/AIDS Risk, and Institutional Buffers1

  • Celeste Watkins-Hayes (a1), Courtney J. Patterson (a2) and Amanda R. Armour (a3)

This article posits that the response to the AIDS epidemic among Blacks in the United States must acknowledge structural and institutional realities that render poor Black urban neighborhoods particularly vulnerable to high HIV infection rates. The controversial film Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, inspires our analysis, revealing the spatial context of HIV risk and suggesting new potential avenues through which to address the epidemic at the neighborhood level. In the film, we find opportunities for institutions to serve as intermediaries among neighborhoods, families, and individuals, not only to reduce the transmission of HIV, but also to improve health management for HIV-positive inner-city residents. The film points to three potential location-based sites of intervention: (1) mental health services that treat childhood sexual trauma; (2) HIV-related health messaging and services within urban street-level bureaucracies; and (3) neighborhood access to food and dietary resources that mitigate HIV disease progression.

Corresponding author
Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Departments of Sociology and African American Studies, Northwestern University, 1860 Campus Drive, Crowe 5-128 Evanston, IL 60208. E-mail:
Hide All

The authors thank Michelle Wright, Mary Pattillo, and anonymous reviewers for their comments and criticisms.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Crystal Cenè , Aletha Akers , Stacey Lloyd , Tashuna Albritton , Wizdom Powell Hammond , and Giselle Corbie-Smith (2011). Understanding Social Capital and HIV Risk in Rural African American Communities. Journal of General Internal Medicine, Online First, February 10, 2011. ⟨⟩ (accessed February 15, 2011).

Mario Small (2009). Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life. New York: Oxford University Press.

Celeste Watkins-Hayes (2009). The New Welfare Bureaucrats: Entanglements of Race, Class, and Policy Reform. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 12
Total number of PDF views: 22 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 236 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.