Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 30, 2013

AIDS and Conflict: Micro Evidence from Burundi1)

Matthias Rieger


This paper studies the relationship between civil war and HIV/AIDS in Burundi at the micro level. The case of Burundi provides interesting grounds of analysis, as seroprevalence rates are heterogeneous across the country, the serological and conflict data for Burundi are of good quality and conclusions can inform HIV/AIDS policies in Burundi and other fragile states. Ordinary least squares and instrumental variable results indicate that there is no empirical relationship between seroprevalence at the general population level and three measures of local conflict intensity within provinces. This evidence could imply that areas that are relatively more conflict affected do not need to be prioritized over others in terms of HIV/AIDS policies. Further research should focus on individual rather than geographical exposure to conflict. There are likely certain groups and individuals at risk in the general population that need special attention after conflict. Furthermore, violence changes societies, in particular gender relations, thereby indirectly feeding and possibly fueling the dynamics of the epidemic.

Corresponding author: Matthias Rieger, International Economics Section, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, e-mail:

  1. 1

    See “System Disruption & HIV AIDS,” Albon, C., June 16, 2008, available at:– disruption – hiv – aid, accessed on: January 1st, 2013.

  2. 2

    United Nations Population Fund Agency (2002). Situation démographique et sociale au Burundi. Résultats de l’enquête sociodémographique et de santé de la reproduction. Burundi: Département de la population.

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    UNHCR Burundi, 2013, available at:, accessed on: January 25th, 2013

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    Nyanza-Lac, Muruta, Kinyinya, Giharo, Mutumbuzi, Isare, Kamenge, Muhuta, Rumonge and Kabezi.

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    See “Burundi’s military lags behind in fight against HIV/AIDS,” China Daily, November 1, 2012, Xinhua, available at:–01–11/content,928566.html, accessed on: January 25th, 2013.

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    This Draft: February 10, 2013. This paper is a chapter from my PhD thesis in international economics at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. It would not have been possible without the helpful corporation of Cyrus Samii at New York University. I would like to thank him for sharing the conflict data, for detailed discussions on the Burundian conflict and the joint effort of collecting data for the identification strategy. Further I am grateful to the World Bank and the SEP-CNLS Burundi for granting access to the 2007 National Serological Household Survey. I received comments from Erwin Bulte at Wageningen University, two anonymous referees, as well as from seminar participants at the the Graduate Institute, Geneva, which have all – in large or more modest ways – helped me gain insights into the topic. All views in this paper and remaining errors are mine.


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Published Online: 2013-05-30
Published in Print: 2013-01-01

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