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                                      Currently, HIV is one of the most widely spread  epidemics in the world. The specificity of the mode of transmission, the  well-known severity of  the prognosis, and the kind of therapies used are peculiarities of this illness.Personality traits of individuals with HIV may influence conditions for the infection itself. On the other hand, it is possible that personality traits may influence the course of the illness  and the willingness of the patients to adhere to treatment. The present  study assessed the personality traits of a heterogeneous group of seropositive subjects compared with healthy controls to determinespecific temperament and character traits of this population HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, which is our body’s natural defence against illness. The virus destroys a type of white blood cell in the immune system called a T-helper cell, and makes copies of itself inside these cells. T-helper cells are alsoreferred to as CD4 cells.As HIV destroys more CD4 cells and makes more copies of itself, it gradually breaks down a person’s immune system. This means someone living with HIV, who is not receiving treatment, will find it harder and harder to fight off infections and diseases.If HIV is left untreated, it may take up to 10 or 15 years for the immune system to be so severely damaged it can no longer defend itself at all. However, the speed HIV progresses will vary depending on age, health and background.  

Basic facts about HIV

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus.
  • There is effective antiretroviral treatment available so people with HIV can live a normal, healthy life.
  • The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start – leading to better long term health.
  • HIV is found in semen, blood, vaginal and anal fluids, and breast milk.
  • HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, saliva or urine.
  • Using male condoms or female condoms during sex is the best way to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

AIDS is not a virus but a set of symptoms (or syndrome) caused by the HIV virus. A person is said to have AIDS when their immune system is too weak to fight off infection, and they develop certain defining symptoms and illnesses. This is the last stage of HIV, when the infection is very advanced, and if left untreated will lead to death.

Basic facts about AIDS

AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

AIDS is also referred to as advanced HIV infection or late-stage HIV.

AIDS is a set of symptoms and illnesses that develop as a result of advanced HIV infection which has destroyed the immune system. Treatment for HIV means that more people are staying well, with fewer people developing AIDS.Although there is currently no cure for HIV with the right treatment and support, people with HIV can live long and healthy lives. To do this, it is especially important to take treatment correctly and deal with any possible side-effects.


                        The term personality is used in a number of ways including the apparent features of a person. However, psychologists use it to refer to the characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling and acting. By characteristic pattern we mean the consistent and distinctive ways our ideas, feelings and actions are organized. When we talk about personality we usually refer to the totality or whole of the person. Thus, the enduring pattern expressed by the person in various situations is the hall mark of personality. Interestingly the theories of personality go beyond the literal meaning of “personality” which stands for large masks used by actors in ancient Greek drama. Contrary to this thepersonality theorists view ‘personality’ as the essence of the person. It is a person’s “true” inner nature. The unique impression that a person makes on others is equally important in understanding personality. However the concept of personality has been defined by psychologists in many ways and it is the theoretical perspective or position which directs our attention to particular aspects of personality. Understanding personality has proved to be a difficult and challenging task. It’s so complex that no single theory is able to cover the total personality. The different theories approach the structure and functioning of personality from different positions. There are many theories of personality each provides different answers about the way they treat the issues about personality functioning. In particular, they provide different explanations about the role of conscious/unconscious factors, determinism/freedom in functioning, role of early experience, role of genetic factors, uniqueness/universality etc. In the present lesson youwill learn about four major theoretical perspectives of personality. They include psychoanalytic, trait, humanistic and social-cognitive perspectives.


Founded by Sigmund Freud, this theory emphasizes the influence of the unconscious, the importance of sexual and aggressive instincts, and early childhood experience on a person. This theory has been very influential not only in psychology but also in literary circles, art, psychiatry and films. Many of Freud’s ideas have become part and parcel of every day usage. Freud started his career as a neurologist. His theory developed in the course of his observations of his patients, as well as, self analysis. He used free association to help his patients recover forgotten memories. Freud discovered that mind is like an iceberg and we have limited conscious awareness.  Freud proposed that psychological forces operate at three levels of awareness:

Conscious level: The thoughts, feelings, and sensations that one is aware of at the present moment.

Preconscious level: It contains information of which one is not currently aware, however, they can easily enter conscious mind.

 Unconscious level: It consists of thought, feelings, wishes, drives etc. of which  we are not aware. It, however, influences our conscious level of activity.

 Freud thought that unconscious material often seeks to push through to the conscious level in a disguised manner. It may be in a distorted manner and or it may take a symbolic form. Interpretation of dreams and free association were used for analysis of the three levels of  awareness.

Personality Structure

Freud believed that human personality emerges due to a conflict between our aggressive and pleasure seeking biological impulses and the internalized social restraints against them. Thus, personality arises in the course of our effort to resolve the conflicts. To this end he proposed three structures which interact with each other: Id, Ego and Super Ego. Let us learn about these structures:

Id: It is the unconscious, irrational part of personality. It is the primitive part immune to morality and demands of the external world. It operates on the pleasure principle. It seeks immediate satisfaction.

Ego: It is involved with the workings of the real world. It operates on the reality principle. It is the conscious, and rational part of personality that regulates thoughts and behaviors. It teaches the person to balance demands of external world and

needs of the person.

 Super Ego: It is the internal representation of parental and societal values. It works as the voice of conscience, that compels the ego to consider not only the real but also the ideal. It judges one’s behaviors as right or wrong, good or bad. Failing up to moral ideals bring about the shame, guilt, inferiority and anxiety in the person.

Personality Development

·          On the basis of case-history of patients, Freud reached at a conclusion that personality development occurs through a sequence of psychosexual stages. In these stages the Id’s pleasure seeking tendency focuses on different areas of body.

Oral (0 – 1.5 years of age): Fixation on all things oral. If not satisfactorily met there is the likelihood of developing negative oral  habits or behaviors.

Anal (1.5 to 3 years of age): As indicated this stage is primarily related to developing healthy toilet training habits.

Phallic (3 – 5 year of age): The developments of healthy substitutes for the sexual attraction boys and girls have toward a parent of the opposite gender.

Latency (5 – 12 years of age): The development of healthy dormant sexual feelings for the opposite sex.

Defense Mechanisms

The Ego has to perform a difficult duty of mediating between the instinctual demands of Id and moral position of Super Ego. The Ego tries to solve the problem and if a realistic solution or compromise is not possible it indulges in distorting thoughts or perception of reality through certain processes called defense mechanisms. To defend or safeguard ourselves, we use technique called defense mechanism. These are also called Adjustment Mechanisms.

Trait Approach to Personality

Erikson’s Theory

This theory states that personality is groomed throughout lifetime. He presents eight distinct stages each with two possible outcomes. Successful completion of each stage leads to a healthy personality. These stages are −

·        Infancy − It is the period between 0-1 years of age. In this stage, children learn the ability to trust others depending on their caregivers. Unsuccessful completion in this stage results in anxiety and insecurity. Example − Children of this age are more comfortable with those faces they see more often and not with strangers.

·        Early Childhood − It is the period between 1-3 years of age. In this stage, children learn to be independent. If given support, they become more confident else they become dependent over others. Example − Children in this age are taught how to walk, how to talk etc.

·        Play Age − It is the period between 3-6 years of age. In this stage, children assert themselves frequently. The failure leads to development of a sense of guilt among them. Example − Children in this age group, need to be taught how to behave and should be taught to be focused.

·        School Age − It is the period between 6 years of age till puberty. In this stage, children become more innovative. They feel confident and want to achieve their goals. If not encouraged they may feel inferior. Example − Teenagers should be protected and parents need to understand them and should handle them patiently.

·        Adolescence − This stage is a transformation from childhood to adulthood. Here children find their own identity and should be guided and supported in order to help them choose the right direction. Example − Decision such as which stream to choose science or commerce etc. happens during this stage.

·        Early Childhood − This stage is also known as young adulthood. Here, they begin to open up and become more intimate with others. Example − Making close friends.

·        Adulthood − In this stage, they focus on establishing career and settling down with relationships that are important. Example − Applying for jobs.

·        Mature Adulthood − In this stage, a person is old and thus in this stage

the productivity slows down. Example − Taking care of the family.

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