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For instance, when advocates first heard of the new $40 million in U.S. funds to fight AIDS in South Africa — which was announced Monday by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — there was great excitement, said Ms. Ford. Then people learned it was for a circumcision program, not testing and treatment.

“We are not going to be silenced and go away,” said Ms. Ford. The first way to keep the promise about ending AIDS “is that you show up,” she said. “Sending a video message is not showing up. And it’s not leadership from the United States of America. We are asking the president to please engage and make AIDS a priority.”