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Drauzio Varella

Dr Drauzio Varella was born in São Paulo and is a noted medical science popularizer and public commentator on issues such as prison conditions, social welfare and his professed atheism and scepticism, as well as the bestselling author of numerous books, for which he has received literary awards including the Prêmio Jabuti. He is a pioneer of HIV treatment in Brazil, and from 1989 to 2001 he volunteered to work as an unpaid physician in one of the largest jails of Brazil, the Casa de Detenção Carandiru, in order to combat the AIDS epidemic raging among the incarcerated population. He is chairman of the cancer research institute at Universidade Paulista in São Paulo and teaches and lectures around the world.
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The Carandiru House of Detention, in the teeming city of São Paulo, was the largest and most crowded prison in Latin America. Known as the 'Old House', it was also highly unusual in the way it was governed. Closed to the outside world, and even largely to the wardens, it was run almost entirely by the inmates themselves, who created a unique society complete with politics, hierarchies and a system of justice. In 1989, at the height of the AIDS epidemic in Brazil, with only a handful of...
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