One Out of Five Stars
"House of Numbers" is a horrible, angering mess. That is the kindest thing to say about it. Basically a rundown of every anti-AIDS conspiracy theory since the crisis began, it repeatedly asks the question over and over; Why Have We not Found The Cure For AIDS? Simple question, sure. But the answers are more complex that this movie wants to address.
For starters, AIDS is a relatively young disease. The main outbreak and plague broke thorough in the late 70's and swelled through the 80's and 90's. While research suggests that there may have been cases far earlier, it wasn't until this period that the Scientific and Medical communities began taking serious research into the illness. In the USA, that research was near nil, thanks to the likes of Jesse Helms and the despicable policies of Ronald Reagan. So asking why we have not found a cure is foolish. Cancer and even the common cold are far older and more researched diseases, yet we still have nothing to cure either. Health Research is not a toaster; things do not just pop out after four minutes.
Then they try and look at the disease itself. They roll out the same tired tropes, like poppers gave you AIDS, the drugs were what caused AIDS deaths (partially true, the misunderstanding of the EARLY drugs - like AZT - harmed people), and the usual crap that gay men having sex were doing it to themselves. The modern 'drug cocktail' has been refined over the course of near 20 years to have balanced the side effects since then, but there's still plenty of conspiracy theorists who will try and convince you that "Big Pharma" is just trying to get your money.
Then they find the Doctors who are happy to tell you their theories why HIV and AIDS are right and the rest are bogus. However, the overwhelming preponderance of the Medical/Scientific have no doubts that HIV and AIDS exist and can kill you if not properly treated. The question raised in "House of Numbers" that HIV may not even be communicable is not just ignorant, it is dangerous. People are exposed to different infections every day (and I'll jump back to that common cold analogy again), but you don't have an illness every day. Illnesses break through in a variety of ways, and sometimes the factors involves vary from moment to moment, even in the same person.
"House of Numbers" raises question and offers no answers. It throws theories out but offers few facts. It questions the deaths of hundreds of thousands, but offers little insight into what killed them. It's easy to cast aspersions on things you do not want to believe. "House of Numbers" drags out stupidity and wild-eyed fear, then tries to offer it as controversy. Like Climate Change or Intelligent Design deniers, there can always be found a small group of true believers willing to argue that there is dissent over 'the facts.' But opinions are not facts and "House Of Numbers" does not offer much of factual info, and that makes it dangerous.