Press statement

UNAIDS welcomes the appointment of Erika Castellanos as Executive Director of GATE

GENEVA, 13 December 2022—UNAIDS warmly welcomes the appointment of Erika Castellanos as the new Executive Director of GATE (Global Action for Trans Equality). GATE works to ensure justice and equality for trans, gender diverse and intersex communities through strategic partnerships with diverse global entities, including UNAIDS and other United Nations bodies and mechanisms.

Born in Belize, Erica started her activism focusing on the rights of people living with HIV and sex workers. She brings to her work her lived experience as a transgender woman living with HIV and as a member of different communities of key populations.

“Erika Castellanos is an internationally recognized and highly respected HIV and human rights activist. UNAIDS appreciates our partnership with Erika as a civil society delegate to our Programme Coordinating Board" said Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS Executive Director. “GATE’s work as a trans-led organization has been critical to foster the engagement of trans, gender diverse and intersex communities in the AIDS response. We look forward to continuing our work with Erika and GATE in addressing the inequalities affecting these communities”.

Erika Castellanos joined GATE in April 2017 as Director of Programs. In February 2022, she took the role of Interim Executive Director during which time she has continued to solidify GATE’s position as a global leader in trans, gender diverse and intersex advocacy.

Erika has served various positions at national, regional and global levels including as Executive Director of the Collaborative Network for Persons Living with HIV (C-NET+) – Belize, Vice-Chair of the Board of the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), board member of the HIV Justice Network and co-chair of the ViiV Positive Action program for men who have sex with men and transgender people. In 2018, Erika was the first openly transgender advocate to be appointed to the Board of the Global Fund, as part of the communities delegation.

Erika will begin her new role as GATE’s Executive Director on 1 January 2023.


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


Sophie Barton-Knott
tel. +41 79 514 6896

Press centre

Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE)

Related: Voices of activists for transgender rights