Mahesh Mahalingam, Chief of Staff of UNAIDS

Mahesh Mahalingam has worked on AIDS and public health issues for more than 30 years. He was appointed as Chief of Staff of UNAIDS in October 2023.

He has been with UNAIDS since 2000 and has held several senior leadership positions. Most recently, he was the Senior Adviser in the office of the Executive Director. Previously he served as Director for Communications and Global Advocacy. He has also served as Director in the Office of the UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme, the UNAIDS Country Director for Lesotho, as the Head of Communications and as a senior adviser on HIV prevention.

He started his career in advertising and broadcasting and revisited his roots as a youth activist and helped to shape India’s first AIDS education programme for young people in 1991. Since then, he has been involved in formulating policies and programmes on HIV prevention and treatment in many Asian and African countries and in shaping policies and public opinion about AIDS globally. He has extensive experience in designing programmes for sex workers, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men and young people in Asia and Africa.

Before joining UNAIDS, he worked for India’s National AIDS Control Organization, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Development Programme on AIDS-related issues. He was awarded the National Youth Award by India for his work on AIDS and has featured on TedX talks. He has contributed to and led on many of UNAIDS’ award-winning publications.