AIDS- it’s not what you think?

From the moment I started viewing the House of Numbers trailer, one of 2 documentaries about HIV/AIDS that will be screened at Global Voices this year, it became clear that this film is not a “typical” epidemic related film. In an effort to better understand this disease, Canadian filmmaker Brent Leung went on a worldwide mission to study the science surrounding HIV/AIDS. And Mr. Leung’s discoveries question facts that many had long accepted as true. For one, 50 seconds into the trailer, Biophysicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos states that, “the presently available data does not prove the existence of HIV.”

This statement sounded ridiculous. Doesn’t HIV cause AIDS? You surely can’t have AIDS without HIV, just like you can’t have cheese without milk (to put it bluntly). Yet in the trailer, more and more of the interviewees were questioning the discovery of HIV, what we define as AIDS, and the way AIDS is diagnosed and treated. And these interviewees are the “major players” of the HIV/AIDS discourse: scientists from renewed universities, Nobel Prize winners, and directors of key non-profits.

It is important to note that not everybody is questioning the status quo of HIV/AIDS knowledge (President Obama stated last weekend that the US is committed to continue the battle against HIV/AIDS in Africa), and the documentary presents those views as well.

Through the interviews, the documentary raises some fascinating and disturbing questions. Almost 3 decades after we first encountered this terrible epidemic, why is there still a debate about its causes? And why do most people think that HIV causes AIDS, if the scientific community is still uncertain about this fact? I’ve never claimed to know much about this disease, but I’ve always believed in the fact that HIV leads to AIDS. After all, it is the official position of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the CDC. However, looking at the links on House of Number’s website, I found many organizations that are fighting this claim, and they have a strong backing from doctors and scientists worldwide.

I’ll leave you with this, though. While, the subject of HIV/AIDS got a little murkier for me, there are a few things about which I am certain. In 2007, there were 33 million people in the world living with HIV/AIDS (that is 5 times the population of MA), including 2 million children. 2.7 million people were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2007, while 2 million people lost their battle in the same year. House of Numbers questions our knowledge diagnosing and treating the disease; however, the film does not question its severity or its impact on the world. So please come to the screening of House of Numbers, because the more we know about what’s going on, the more we can help!

Stay informed,
Dan

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30 Responses to AIDS- it’s not what you think?

  1. NM says:

    It’s a dishonest film, made to promote AIDS denial, there is no “debate” over whether HIV causes AIDS in the scientific community. Do you think Brent Leung edited his footage on his own? On of the publicity photos shows David Rasnick, longtime AIDS denialist and former employee of Matthias Rath, on the film set while it was being made. Any festival that shows this film is just unwittingly helping promote AIDS denial.

  2. Billie K. says:

    I’ve seen House of Numbers three times so far, and I learned something new each time. The film is well researched and well organized. It’s causing waves among those who stand to be embarrassed by what it reveals. Congratulations on getting a film like this made in this day and age when we can’t even get a single major media outlet to cover the story.

  3. Susan Brown says:

    NM, You are cherry-picking there. There are also photos of the filmmaker with Robert Gallo, Montagnier and Peter Piot. Does that mean the film is helping to promote ‘AIDS realism” as well? And to refer to a scientist like David Rasnick as an AIDS “denialist” is absurd, and a typically hollow argument. He has something like 6 patents for protease inhibitors, a class of drug he helped establish.

    Anyway, keep in mind, the film is comprised of INTERVIEWS with scientists, journalists, historians, politicians and HIV-positives. The result is what most people would call good, balanced journalism.

  4. TS says:

    Those defending the current HIV/AIDS brand monopoly apparently can’t handle the tough questions without getting huffy. Whether you like Leung’s interviewing methods or not, he did interview THE forefront HIV/AIDS establishment, scientists, etc… so the documentary has credibility. In the least, this should increase the HIV/AIDS discussion and the amount of money that is thrown at it.

  5. Jason says:

    I’m with TS here. I saw the film at the first
    Nashville screening and this is not a settled
    debate in the minds of open minded individuals.
    Those who make remarks like “this debate is already
    settled” or “there is no debate” sound a little
    scared. Whenever someone backpedals from debate
    it’s because they don’t think their arguments will
    hold up to scrutiny. Science is the persuit of truth
    and not a guilded homogeny with no room for dissention.

    Newton was taken to task by Einstein who, in tern,
    was taken to task by Bohr. Those who think scientific
    inquiry to be anathema are not persuing truth and
    therefore are not conducting science themselves.

    Good day.

  6. CW says:

    Having a background in the anthropology and sociology of HIV/AIDS, I understood the film to document what medical anthropologists might call the “social life of HIV/AIDS diagnoses”. In other words, while the film does expose some of the unknown links between HIV and AIDS, Leung also laid bare the animate and varying regulations around diagnoses and treatments thought to be internationally unchanging factors.

    The film is controversial, needless to say, but it opens the door for a dialog (re: overdiagnosing, tests/procedures) that is often not seen or heard.

    • NM says:

      There are photos of Robert Gallo, Montagnier and Peter Piot standing in the background in Africa while Leung and his crew interview someone else? Please post a link.

      Also, if you can publicly confirm that Leung edited this movie without any help from anybody from Rethinking AIDS, that would be excellent.

      Leung doesn’t understand how testing works, and uses the standard denialist propaganda tactic of pretending there is something weird about taking into account the prevalence of a disease in a population when evaluating the accuracy of a test. It’d designed to mislead an audience that doesn’t understand how positive predictive values work.

      • CW says:

        I’m from the Boston screening committee, thank you for your input. You’ve offered valid points, and we’ve taken your thoughts into consideration.

        We will be re-screening this film with a group of AIDS experts in the Boston area, and will get back on the blog with thoughts.

      • NM says:

        Thanks. If your reference to “internationally unchanging factors” relates to Leung’s misrepresentations about opportunistic infections, there’s nothing mysterious about that, either. Everyone’s body contains a plethora of pathogens that they have been exposed to over their lives, which are kept from causing disease by memory immune responses. HIV depletes memory immune responses, allowing those pathogens to cause disease. The pathogens people have been exposed to over their lives differ based on where they live and their behavior. So the incidence of opportunistic infections also varies based on these factors. The progressive decline of memory immune responses to opportunistic pathogens like pneumocystis jiroveci has been tracked in detail in people with HIV, and disease occurs when the responses decline to a level where the pathogen can no longer be controlled. The same variation in risk of opportunistic infections is seen in another setting where memory immune responses are artificially depleted – organ transplantation. This has been known for decades, and for a 29 year old first-time filmmaker to so appallingly misrepresent the facts while claiming – with colossal arrogance – that “the HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten” is…well, words fail me.

  7. William says:

    AIDS has become an industry. Yes, I want to cure all those who are suffering from AIDS defining diseases. But, it has degenerated into a money-making machine. The gov’t ignores many other important diseases (diabetes, breast cancer) for all this politicized junk.

    Also, the AIDS establishment censors anyone who sdissents from the party line. Whenever anyone brings up the HIV-free AIDS cases, they get kinda squirrely.

    If you have AIDS, question the accuracy of the antibody of the tests and the toxicity of the drugs.

  8. The writer “knows(s) for certain” there are 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS? The writer is another victim of the the World Health Organization’s UNAIDS’s extrapolations of exaggerations of a tiny number of so-called “HIV” tests in Africa. And the writer is apparently unaware that UNAIDS has no definition of AIDS and cannot disaggregate the purported retrovirus “cases” from the purported people with immune deficiency–which is really just old diseases like malaria and TB and old immune suppressive conditions like malnutrition and dirty drinking water re-purposed as “AIDS” in Africa.

  9. Jay says:

    when i saw the film in nashville, it (and the filmmaker) received a ten minute standing ovation. it was awesome.

  10. LS says:

    The AIDS industry is one of the most corrupt on the planet. It creates the idea of a sexual epidemic in areas of extraordinary poverty. It perpetuates racist idealizations of Africans, who have no resources, and labels them with a death-via-sex stigma, despite what is known and recorded in the medical literature about AIDS and sex, or about the drugs used on AIDS patients, which can and do kill them, slowly, and often enough, very quickly.

    The AIDS industry cloaks itself in a fabric of ‘social justice,’ as though any pharmaceutical company brazen and disgusting enough to put out a drug like Nevirapine or AZT is on the same side as Martin Luther King, or Gandhi.

    It’s a sham and a joke, and I thank Mr. Leung for putting the argument into the public sphere, where it belongs.

    What you will see in the space that follows, is the AIDS industry’s refusal to allow the material to be debated. You will see those correctly and lucidly citing the literature, chapter and verse, on the failure of HIV tests, AIDS drugs, and the predictions of the AIDS paradigm, you will see these people vilified, called horrible names, and this name-calling, coupled with outrageous claims and slanders, will constitute the major defense of the AIDS industry against – against what – against its own massive recorded failures and crimes.

    Good work Mr. Leung, we need more like you asking questions of public policy in science and medicine.

  11. Informed Dissent says:

    “HIV depletes memory immune responses, allowing those pathogens to cause disease.” NM, it sounds like you would be open to the idea (in an Antoine Béchamp sense) that it is not the germ but the terrain that is the problem. You have no proof that HIV depletes immune memory response, but it’s a nice scientific-sounding argument. “Direct” damage to cells can also allow for pre-existing pathogens to do harm. Severe stress is a well-known immune suppressor, and there aren’t too many things more stressful than being told by your doctor that you are infected with a virus that will kill you in a few years. Have you ever felt such stress?

    In fact, if you think about it logically, if the anti-HIV medications can cause symptoms that are indistinguishable from AIDS (which is claimed in the inserts for many of the drugs) than there is your proof that AIDS can be caused by toxins and not HIV. What more proof do you need? How do you ever know AIDS is being caused by HIV if it is “indistinguishable?”

  12. Clark Baker says:

    I am a licensed private investigator and retired member of the Los Angeles Police Department. I have conducted thousands of criminal and civil investigations since 1980.

    Based upon an investigation I began last year, it is now clear that HIV mythology is what keeps international mining operations open in Africa.

    More than 1600 international mining companies pay hundreds of thousands of mostly migrant African laborers less than $100/mo to sack Africa’s mineral wealth. By blaming hundreds of thousands of mine-related lung illnesses to “irresponsible sex” (HIV), those mining companies avoid billions of dollars in liability – thereby keeping the mining operations open. Where else in the world could US mining companies pay laborers $100/mo to extract strategic minerals like uranium, gold and platinum?

    To perpetuate the HIV lie, the NIH and pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars annually to research centers and corruptable PhDs to perpetuate the myth and attack those who ask questions. I have not avoided similar attacks.

    If HIV was real, I would have closed my investigation and moved on months ago.

    In House of Numbers, Mr. Leung has captured the conflicting opinions of HIV’s top theologians on film, leaving the audience to make up their own mind.

    This is why House of Numbers terrifies the NIH-funded critics.

    Clark Baker CPI #19547
    http://www.cwbpi.com

  13. Dan says:

    It’s strange how little real criticism the AIDS industry receives. Kind of makes you wonder, or it should, anyway. The only criticism allowed via mainstream media is that there isn’t ENOUGH money thrown at AIDS. I’ve read about this new movie, and it sounds like some real, necessary criticism of HIV/AIDS could finally get to the surface where it can be discussed openly. I look forward to seeing House of Numbers when it comes to the Portland area.

  14. Celia Farber says:

    “NM” writes:

    “..there is no “debate over whether HIV causes AIDS in the scientific community.”

    No kidding. The “scientific community,” systematically purged all dissent from the so-called community as soon as it emerged in 1987. Scientists, academics, journalists and even heads of state were demonized, de-funded, harassed, libeled, and traumatized by the ruling class of pharmaceutical and government funded “HIV research community,” which deployed McCarthyist tactics to create the impression of consensus. The libel continues here, with the label “denialist.”

    In fact, over 2,600 scientists, academics, journalists, attorneys, politicians, and people with HIV have signed their names to a petition urging a re-opening of the (since 1984) closed question of HIV’s pathogenesis. They can be viewed at http://www.rethinkingaids.com.

    This film is primarily comprised of orthodox HIV scientists, contradicting each other and even themselves. If it is “dangerous,” it is no thanks to dissidents, who play a marginal role in the film, rather like a Greek chorus. It shows that HIV “science” is ambiguous, contradictory, and even flat out baseless in parts.

    People are tired of AIDS orthodoxy slandering critics. Billions of tax payer dollars and countless lives were lost–the guilt is not on those who raise questions but on those who arrogantly express resentment at the existence of questions.

    Only a handful of HIV professionals still believe there is anything unsavory about raising these explosive and critical questions, and people are sick of their cheap guilt trips, especially people who have tested HIV positive and wish to know whether they are in fact sentenced to imminent death.

    • NM says:

      Dr. Severin Sibailly signed a petition? Really? I would very much like to see confirmation of that.

      “it is no thanks to dissidents, who play a marginal role in the film”

      So that isn’t Rethinking AIDS board member and former Rath Foundation employee David Rasnick holding the mike for the Riain Milan interview in the photograph on the film’s Facebook page?

      • NM says:

        Since the link for the photo is in an earlier comment still caught in moderation, I’ll try reposting:

  15. Carter says:

    NM
    You said, “HIV depletes memory immune responses”

    Prove it!

  16. Billie K. says:

    N.M. Have you seen House of Numbers or just a photograph taken behind the scenes, which is highly irrelevant? The film is comprised of interviews with your heroes Luc Montagnier, Robert Gallo, Peter Piot, Anthony Fauci, Kenneth Cole, John Moore, etc. Listen to what they say in their own words, sometimes contradicting each other and themselves, as Celia Farber has mentioned. It’s quite a spectacle, and makes for a great movie.

    The section on HIV testing alone is worthy of an award. It has never been so thoroughly examined on film before. Thanks to the filmmakers for sticking their necks out to produce such an important film.

  17. unagbfilmfestival says:

    A note from the screening committee: part of our goal in hosting the Global Voices film festival is to promote productive dialogue on the films and issues in focus. As is the case with all films featured in the festival, we are exploring the possibility of a panel of experts (chosen in collaboration with the filmmakers) speaking before or after the screening.

    • NM says:

      I don’t see how a fundamentally dishonest film can lead to a productive dialogue, but best of luck. As part of the discussion, I’d suggest showing the clip of Brent Leung mugging for the camera when a test counselor asks about risk groups, then having someone who knows what positive predictive values are explain them.

      Perhaps you could also consider including a discussion between the “dissidents” regarding whether HIV exists or not, as they have never been able to agree on this point and are now turning some of the nastiness they’ve directed at medical professionals, activists and HIV researchers against each other. Anthony Brink, who wrote the bizarre diatribe about Zackie Achmat quoted above, has written this about the issue:

      http://www.tig.org.za/TIG_Position_Statement_on_'HIV‘.htm

      Although Brink calls Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos a “nuclear physicist” and Dan describes her as a “biophysicist” in the above posting, according to the Australian court papers from the Parenzee trial Papadopulos-Eleopulos works as a hospital technician testing people for sensitivity to UV radiation. Her published record of actual research involves oxidation in rat arteries but – in apparent contradiction to statements made here about purging dissent – Papadopulos-Eleopulos does have a list of published letters and opinion pieces about HIV starting in 1988 and continuing through 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2006. Some are in major journals such as The Lancet and the Journal of Infectious Diseases, so the idea that these views are not being aired does not seem to have a basis in fact.

  18. Carter says:

    NM,
    Fundamentally dishonest film?

    Prove it!

    Scan the ticket you went and saw the film with, make a PFD and post it here. Otherwise you haven’t the faintest idea of what you’re talking about.

  19. Clark Baker says:

    When Galileo challenged 300 years of astronomical consensus in 1624, there was no shortage of “professional astronomers” who dismissed the “mathematical hack” as a purveyor of Copernican nonsense – the tired theory that suggested the Earth was not the center of the universe.

    Refuted by generations of the Pope’s most learned astronomers, Galileo was an astronomical denialist whose heresy threatened the foundations of Roman Catholicism. Because their confused explanation was no match for Galileo’s elegant proof, Pope Urban forced Galileo to recant or die. Coincidentally, when Galileo recanted the scientific community was in complete agreement.

    As for dishonesty, don’t confuse the confused and conflicting statements of AIDS clerics Fauci and Gallo with the movie. Their words speak for themselves.

    How terrifying it must be for these clerics who are being exposed more each day. Fauci and Gallo remind me of Chesterton’s statement that “when a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything…”

    Unlike the pseudoscience called HIV and AIDS, House of Numbers speaks for itself.

  20. Clark Baker says:

    As for someone being ashamed of themselves, I’d say that someone who can’t ID himself is pretty much ashamed…

  21. Clark Baker says:

    Who are you, NM, and why are you afraid to admit who you are? Is it because you’re also paid by the pharmaceutical industry? If not, you will be the first defender of HIV theology I’ve met who isn’t directly or indirectly compensated for your devotion…

  22. unagbfilmfestival says:

    We would like to thank all the posters for the engaging discussion on the documentary and the correlation between HIV and AIDS. Ultimately, our film screening committee, comprised of members of the healthcare community, believes that the documentary provides balanced information on both sides of the argument and that it answers our objectivity requirements.

    We’ll no longer accept comments on this particular blog posting, as valid opinions have been expressed and considered. We will continue to blog about issues raised in festival films, and hope that you will continue reviewing our postings. Once again, we thank you for posting your thoughts, and we promise to provide a forum to continue this discussion at the film’s screening in October.

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