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The Role of Personality in HIV Risk Behaviors: Implications for Treatment 

The Role of Personality in HIV Risk Behaviors: Implications for Treatment
The Role of Personality in HIV Risk Behaviors: Implications for Treatment

Heidi E. Hutton

, and Glenn J. Treisman

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date: 05 August 2020

The risk behaviors that transmit HIV and complicate HIV treatment are often influenced by Axis II personality disorders and personality traits. There has been relatively little research, however, on the role of personality traits and disorders in HIV despite their stable, durable, and heritable influence on thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Certain traits, such as various types of extroversion and sensation seeking, appear to increase the likelihood of engaging in HIV risk behaviors, having poorer quality of life, and adhering to treatment regimens. Effective HIV prevention and treatment programs should consider specific personality traits that render some individuals more vulnerable to engaging in behaviors that endanger their health and the health of others. Recognizing these personality traits or disorders is useful in developing more specific, effective risk reduction strategies and improving overall health outcomes. This chapter describes personality traits and personality disorders that occur among HIV at-risk and HIV-infected individuals and the implications for HIV care.

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