The spread of HIV in Mozambique has hit the economy and is heightening poverty, the United Nations chief representative in the country said on Friday.
"One of the biggest challenges of the growth of Mozambique's economy is the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS which is affecting most of the economic sectors and creating new levels of poverty," Ndolamb Ngokwey said at the opening of the country's first national conference on the pandemic.
Mozambique has an HIV rate of 16.3 percent among its population aged between 15 and 49 years and authorities say at least 500 new infections are registered daily.
"As part of the United Nations' reform programmes in which Mozambique is a pilot project there is a need to fight the impact of AIDS and to uplift human rights," Ngokwey told delegates.
Ngokwey urged organisations to continue to find ways to fight stigma and discrimination associated with people living with AIDS.
Delegates to the four-day conference will discuss how to help sufferers, protect HIV-infected workers, treatment and challenges of testing and counselling.
More than 100,000 HIV-positive people now receive free treatment in Mozambique, up from 7,000 in 2005.