ECOLOGIA Newsletter Sep/Oct 1994 Issue #30

Editorial Comment

People in different societies react in different ways to information about the complex and subtle effects of invisible environmental health hazards. On the one hand, Westerners are used to a relatively high standard of living and personal comfort, and to feeling "in control" of their decisions and their destinies. Therefore, Westerners often exaggerate the risk of things that are out of their control - everything from terrorist threats to the dangers of genetically engineered foods.

On the other hand, people from Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are living with very real, immediate threats to their health: shortages of food and basic services, and the impact of obvious environmental problems such as water and air pollution. In such a situation, the tendency of the general public is to reject concerns about long term hidden environmental problems as a luxury that simply cannot be afforded.

However, long-term concerns do affect us all. Trans-generational damage, such as damage to the reproductive systems of young children, really is a threat to the human species. An intellectual understanding of such hidden environmental threats is the first step toward working to reduce them.


The spread of A.I.D.S. around the world is occurring through transmission of the H.I.V. virus from one person's blood or semen to another's. Education is crucial to efforts to prevent this disease, since it is primarily spread through sexual intercourse or the use of intravenous drugs.

H.I.V. is much more prevalent in some nations, and among some groups of people, than others. Specifically, it is much more prevalent in the United States than in Central and Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union.

Three Russian medical professionals have just written a short pamphlet, in Russian, designed to provide visitors to the United States with basic information and advice for protection against contracting A.I.D.S. The three women (two doctors and one medical journalist) were in the United States on a month-long Health Care Providers Exchange organized by ECOLOGIA in cooperation with Goodwill Industries, under a grant from U.S. A.I.D. (Agency for International Development), administered through A.E.D. in Washington. Their pamphlet will be provided to all future participants in ECOLOGIA's international exchanges.

Other American organizations, and other travelers to the United States, are encouraged to contact ECOLOGIA for copies of this informative Russian-language handout.

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