On National HIV Testing Day Wednesday Marissa Kleffman with the Brody School of Medicine in Greenville said the number of people testing positive for HIV in eastern carolina is actually higher than the national average.
The ECU health clinic in Pitt County offered free HIV tests along with clinics around the country. Nearly 50,000 people test positive for HIV every year, but medical experts and groups trying to find a cure believe it could be a lot more.
"We're just trying to bring national attention to HIV. The fact that 50% of people who are testing positive right now are already in the last stage which is AIDS, and the fact that 20% of people who have HIV don't even know that they have it," said Kleffman.
Kleffman says nearly 85% of HIV is spread by sexual intercourse, and because there are no external symptoms she says people with HIV can live 7-10 years without ever knowing it.