UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board NGO Delegate and Latin American trans activist selected to join team at GATE
The NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) congratulates Erika Castellanos and the Board of Directors of GATE, on Ms. Castellanos’ recent appointment to Director of Programs. Founded in 2009, the Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE) is an organization that promotes and supports transgender and intersex rights. Ms. Castellanos will join the GATE team in mid April 2017. Erika is a dedicated trans activist and advocate who has been a tireless supporter of communities affected by HIV. In addition to her role on the UNAIDS PCB, Erika is currently Vice Chair of the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) board of directors, member of the Communities Delegation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and among other volunteer roles, represents Belize in the Latin America and Caribbean Network of Trans People (REDLACTRANS). “We wish her well as she brings her spirit, her experiences, her goodwill and her intellect to GATE. Erika’s life experiences as a sex worker, former drug user, transgender woman and a person living with HIV have shaped her understanding of the work to be done. And she is committed to getting things done,” said Jeffry Acaba, Asia Pacific Network of Young Key Populations (Youth LEAD), Thailand.
Erika joined the UNAIDS PCB in 2016 as a Latin American and Caribbean delegate representing the Collaborative Network of Persons Living with HIV (C-NET Belize). “It has been great to work collaboratively and collectively with Erika as we have worked to reach, represent and respond to those in our region living with HIV and experiencing other vulnerabilities,” said Alessandra Nilo, Director General of GESTOS, an HIV/AIDS organization in Recife, Brazil and the Latin American and Caribbean Council of AIDS Service Organizations (LACASSO). “Erika’s wealth of experience in the global arena has brought information about new approaches with fresh ideas to the PCB for addressing the needs of all people living in our region, with a special attention to the needs of trans and cisgender people living with HIV. Erika has helped all of us around the PCB to be more inclusive in our thinking and planning.”
“Erika understands the needs of people living with HIV and those who serve them. She will bring everyone together to review, develop and implement the best plans to address HIV for trans folks globally. She is a great facilitator of change, and will be an asset,” added Trevor Stratton, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, Canada.
As a member of the NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS PCB, Erika has been working on issues of inclusion of trans people, on engagement with civil society, funding for civil society organizations in the HIV epidemic response and on meaningful involvement of all people living with HIV. “Erika approaches her work in the global arena from a human rights frame. GATE is welcoming an advocate who understands the important role that protection and advocacy play together when addressing the needs of vulnerable people,” said Musah El-nasoor Lumumba, Uganda Youth Coalition on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and HIV (CYSRA). “We welcome Erika to Europe and wish her all the best as she moves to Amsterdam and GATE,” added Ferenc Bagyinszky, AIDS Action Europe (AAE), Germany.
The NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS PCB was established as a civil society representative member to the PCB, the UNAIDS governing body. Current members of the PCB include Africa: Musah El-nasoor Lumumba, Uganda Youth Coalition on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and HIV (CYSRA), Uganda; Kene Esom, AMSHeR, South Africa; Asia and the Pacific: Jeffry Acaba, Asia Pacific Network of Young Key Populations (Youth LEAD), Thailand; Sonal Mehta, HIV Alliance India, India; Europe: Ferenc Bagyinszky, AIDS Action Europe (AAE), Germany; Latin America and the Caribbean: Erika Castellanos, C-NET, Belize, Alessandra Nilo, Gestos, Brazil; North America: Trevor Stratton, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, Canada, Marsha Martin, Global Network of Black People Working in HIV (GNBPH), US.