DANBURY -- Thanks to the wonders of pharmaceutical invigorators, there are a lot of gray-haired men having sex.
That is why senior citizens aren't immune to the threat of HIV infection and having that infection grow to full-blown AIDS.
"There are people living in elderly housing complexes who have active sex lives," Roberta Stewart, director of the AIDS Project Greater Danbury, said Tuesday. "We want to educate them."
AIDS Project Greater Danbury is emphasizing the need for all people -- young and old -- to get a simple HIV test.
The organization will hold its annual free HIV testing day Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its office, 30 West St.
"We're not looking at different groups and saying, `You should get tested, you don't need to,'" Stewart said. "We need to run away from labels. We think everyone should get a baseline test."
While the publicity about HIV and AIDS isn't as heated as it was at the height of the epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, people are still contracting the virus.
That means an increasing number of late HIV diagnoses, with people moving quickly to AIDS. "They've had the virus for a long time," Stewart said.
She said there has been an increase in HIV cases involving men having sex with men.
"We're seeing younger men with HIV. We're seeing more men of color with HIV," she said.
Early diagnosis is important, Stewart said, because the anti-viral drugs now available can suppress the human immunodeficiency virus.
With treatment, infected people can have a much-reduced viral load and are less likely to spread the virus.
If people know they have HIV, they are also more careful in their sexual behavior and less prone to spread the virus, she said.
The work to get more people tested comes when there's less money in the state to pay for it.
Twelve cities now account for 40 percent of the HIV cases in the country, he said.
Connecticut's $6 million federal allocation for HIV/AIDS work has been cut by $1.5 million, or 25 percent, and is expected to keep falling, Andresen said.
Stewart said groups working with HIV patients have to work to catch up.
"We concentrate on one group," she said. " While we're looking away, we find out there are problems in a group we haven't been watching."