Do Good Without Looking at Who

Grazieli Dueli and Desmond Prado

In the 80’s, when the first AIDS cases started emerging in Brazil[1], the infected patients were  isolated and nobody touched them for fear of being contaminated by the HIV virus. However, there was a doctor who, with all his humanity, welcomed patients without judging them for their disease. This doctor is called Drauzio Varella, who I have a lot of admiration for. 

As stated in the biography section of Drauzio’s webpage[2], he was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1943. His father had worked as an accountant and his mother died when he was 4 years old. Drauzio (as he likes to be called) holds a degree in Medicine from the University of São Paulo (USP), and he specialized in oncology. Since then, he has enjoyed a brilliant career in his field. 

Still according to Drauzio’s webpage[2], in 1986, he was engaged in science communication beginning on the radio and lately on TV. His first presentation was about AIDS prevention, a disease which was disseminating in Brazil in the 80’s. Drauzio gained more space in the media, and he created various videos about important themes such as health, teenage pregnancy, family planning, LGBT population, abusive relationships, and nicotine as well as other drugs. In these videos, he points out the main problems that affect the disadvantaged populations and creates social projects to improve people’s lives. Speaking the scientific language in a simple way, he managed to take information to people who didn’t have access to it. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Drauzio produced a lot of videos and gave several interviews to explain about the new coronavirus. His communication during the pandemic was and still is very important to inform the populations and deny false information about vaccines and use of masks.  

One of the highlights of Drauzio’s career was his volunteer work in the biggest male prison of South America – Carandiru, in São Paulo city, Brazil. He worked in Carandiru for 10 years until it was deactivated. In the prison, he worked as a doctor, but also developed social projects such as fighting drugs and preventing diseases. Nowadays, he does the same work in a female prison. 

In my opinion, Drauzio is a different human being. He has empathy for people and a desire to make a difference in their lives. In addition, he claims in an interview that he has never wanted to know what crime the convict had committed because he is a doctor, not a judge. In addition to volunteer work in prisons, he also visits shanty towns and talks to the people to understand their necessities. So, he developed some projects or campaigns to help them. Such diverse campaigns raise money for people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and donation of funds raised in one of his videos to The Salvation Army in Brazil.  

Currently, at 77 years of age, he is still working as a doctor, doing volunteer work in the prison, writing books, recording videos for his YouTube channel, developing social projects, giving interviews, and updating his website. And I could not fail to mention, Drauzio is a marathon runner! He is an admirable human and is very willing to help people, regardless of social class, race, or sexual orientation. The humanized look for the marginalized population translates into a sentence: Drauzio does good without looking at who. 


[1] Bastos FIPM, Nunn, A, Hacker, MA, Malta, M & Szwarcwald, CL 2008. AIDS in Brazil: The Challenge and the Response. Public Health Aspects of HIV/AIDS in Low and Middle Income Countries, 629–654.

[2] Varella, D. (n.d.) “Biografia.” Drauzio. Accessed 11/04/21.

By Grazieli Dueli

Pill bottle, vial of Covid-19 vaccine on its side and exposed needle
By Desmond Prado


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Stories from Our Lives: LWTech English Language Students in Words and Images, Volume 2 Copyright © 2022 by Grazieli Dueli and Desmond Prado is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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