Intersectionality and the sociology of HIV/AIDS: Past, present, and future research directions

Celeste Michele Watkins-Hayes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


This review focuses on three topics that have dominated the sociological literature on HIV/AIDS in the United States: (a) the demographics of the epidemic and the dynamics of structural-, neighborhood-, and individual-level risk; (b) the lived experiences of HIV-positive people; and (c) the collective response to HIV/AIDS through community-based services, political activism and social movements, and public policy. Sociologists have pursued inquiry in all of these areas and have often advanced the implicit and explicit use of approaches that reveal the epidemic's embedded power relations. Previous research and the dynamics of the epidemic suggest a fundamental argument: HIV/AIDS is an epidemic of intersectional inequality that is fueled by racial, gender, class, and sexual inequities at the macro-structural, meso-institutional, and micro-interpersonal levels. These inequalities significantly shape the likelihood of exposure to the virus; the realities of living with the infection; and medical, programmatic, political, and social-scientific responses. ©

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-457
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Sociology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Health
  • Inequality
  • Intersectionality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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