House of Numbers: Anatomy of an Epidemic (2009)

Not Rated  |   |  Documentary  |  19 April 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 485 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 10 critic

What is HIV? What is AIDS? What is being done to cure it? These questions sent Canadian filmmaker Brent Leung on a worldwide journey, from the highest echelons of the medical research ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Luc Montagnier ...
Himself - Discoverer of HIV
Francois Barre-Sinnousi ...
Herself - Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine
Anthony Fauci ...
Himself - Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Himself - Chairman of the Board, amfAR
James Curran ...
Himself - Former Director, CDC AIDS Division
David Baltimore ...
Himself - Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine
Donald P. Francis ...
Himself - Epidemiologist, CDC
Michael Gottlieb ...
Himself - First Doctor to Diagnose AIDS, UCLA Medical Center
Harold Jaffe ...
Himself - Former Director, CDC AIDS Division
Daniel Kuritzkes ...
Himself - Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Reinhard Kurth ...
Himself - President, Robert Koch Institute Germany
Joseph B. McCormick ...
Himself - Epidemiologist, CDC
John P. Moore ...
Himself - Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Weill Cornell Medical College
Peter Piot ...
Himself - Executive Director, UNAIDS
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Donald Abrams ...
Himself - Chief of Hematology-Oncology, San Francisco General Hospital


What is HIV? What is AIDS? What is being done to cure it? These questions sent Canadian filmmaker Brent Leung on a worldwide journey, from the highest echelons of the medical research establishment to the slums of South Africa, where death and disease are the order of the day. In this up-to-the-minute documentary, he observes that although AIDS has been front-page news for over 28 years, it is barely understood. Despite the great effort, time, and money spent, no cure is in sight. Born in 1980 (on the cusp of the epidemic), Leung reveals a research establishment in disarray, and health policy gone tragically off course. Gaining access to a remarkable array of the most prominent and influential figures in the field -- among them the co-discoverers of HIV, presidential advisors, Nobel laureates, and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, as well as survivors and activists -- his restrained approach yields surprising revelations and stunning contradictions. The HIV/AIDS story is being ... Written by Knowledge Matters, LLC

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A world without HIV/AIDS may be closer than you think.




Not Rated


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Release Date:

19 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Kartenhaus der Aids-Verschwörung  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


A photo meeting between Ronald Reagan and Jacques Chirac wrongly informs that Chirac was the French President during a White House conference about AIDS in 1987. Chirac was France's Prime Minister at the time, sent by President François Mitterand. See more »


Herself - Investigative Journalist: AIDS is the best example of what's really scary, alarming and dangerous about our culture right now, which is that it's a culture of PR. It's a Public Relations phenomenon. The truth doesn't matter, what matters is the image.
See more »

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User Reviews

Deceptive and compelling obfuscation
11 June 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

On the plus side, it's a wonderful demonstration of how compelling blatantly incorrect theories can be, using misquoted experts and ignoring well-known contradictions.

In addition to the glaring omissions that JC from the UK pointed out here on 3 March 2010, many more can be found on Wikipedia, which denialists shockingly don't seem to be keen on "correcting": See WikiPedia's "AIDS_denialism" and "Misconceptions_about_HIV_and_AIDS".

For example, the film points to the theory that Poppers were the root cause of Kaposi's Sarcoma in the original US gay community, but those Wikipedia pages point to real studies that conclusively disprove that theory. The film does not mention this.

Also, two of the interviewed experts (Constantine and Weiss) explain how they were completely misquoted and misrepresented: See google for "constantine and weiss pinpoint misrepresentations"

The idea of inaccurate HIV testing seemed to play a large role in the film, even though studies show it is 99.9% accurate. (I'm not sure if this includes PCR tests, which perhaps are 100% conclusive?) The film does not mention this.

Also, the film refers to Padian's study on HIV transmission, but completely misrepresents it, as she herself explains: (See: "HIV heterosexual transmission and the Padian paper myth". Basically, she says the study was specifically analyzing safe-sex interventions (condom usage in couples), and simply showed the effectiveness of condoms, not the non-transmissibility of the virus. The film deceptively hides this piece of information.)

The film is highly deceptive, and outright false on most of it's critical points. But it was an entertaining and compelling narrative while it lasted.

23 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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