If you're interested in learning the history of HIV and AIDS, you should check out the five best AIDS documentaries. A world wide pandemic that started in the 1980s and can still be felt today, AIDS has affected millions of lives and continues to do so to this day. However, increased awareness and breakthroughs in scientific research have made AIDS more treatable than ever before. Whether you're looking for information on prevention, treatment, or the disease's cultural affects, these AIDS documentaries will give you all the knowledge you need.

  1. "The Lazarus Effect." The best AIDS documentary comes from an unlikely source in Spike Jonze and Lance Bangs, two movie and music video directors. "The Lazarus Effect" looks at a new form of treatment known as Antiretroviral drugs. Costing less than 50 cents for a days worth of medication, the documentary examines these drugs and the hope it is starting to bring to parts of Africa. A heartwarming story of hope and inspiration, Jonze and Bangs interview children and families across Zambia about the affects of the AIDS virus and their newfound optimism.

  2. "The Origin of AIDS." An award winning documentary produced by HBO, "The Origin of AIDS" premiered on television in 2003. It gives viewers with a brief history and general background of the virus. The documentary culminates with research and opinions about a current hypothesis that the virus may have been born out of a tainted polio vaccine distributed to more than a million children in the Congo in the 1950s. Although the merits of this hypothesis are still up for debate, the documentary provides interviews with nurses and workers, video footage, and research experiments to back up its claims.

  3. "The Other City." Washington D.C. is best known as America's capitol, but did you know that it also has some of the highest AIDS rates in the United States? This AIDS documentary interviews citizens about how they have come together to find treatment and promote prevention, despite negligence and a lack of help from the federal government.

  4. "AIDS Inc." As AIDS spread across the globe, so to did an entire industry devoted to researching causes and attentional treatments. "AIDS Inc." examines the now multi-billion dollar AIDS industry and how corporate greed and profits have stalled progress in regards to AIDS. Filmed over an eight year period in over 30 countries, this documentary challenges longstanding hypotheses about the virus and instead looks at how the most basic conditions—such as poor nutrition, poverty, sickness, and unclean water—correlate with AIDS rates.

  5. "House of Numbers: Anatomy of an Epidemic." The most controversial AIDS documentary on this list, "House of Numbers" challenges one of the most prominent pieces of information about AIDS, questioning the correlation between the HIV virus and AIDS. Director Brent Leung interviews a bevy of prominent scientists and doctors, including Luc Montagnier, the man who co-discovered the HIV virus. Shocking yet informative, "House of Numbers" will have you thinking about AIDS in a way you never did before.