Weird History
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24 Ridiculously Over The Top WWII-Era STD Prevention Posters

Updated February 20, 2019 5.4k votes 837 voters 48.6k views24 items

List RulesVote up the funniest WWII-era STD prevention posters.

Venereal disease during WWII was an enemy the US military used propaganda to battle. Posters (and videos) warned of things like the enemy in your pants, potential disease-spreading women, and the lurking presence of sexually transmitted diseases around every corner – all meant to slap servicemen in the face with the message "PROTECT YOURSELF!" And they delivered this message with some fun vintage STD slang to boot. 

Vintage STD posters paid particular attention to syphilis and gonorrhea, two diseases that were problematic during both WWI and WWII. During WWI, VD cost the Allies as many as 18,000 lives per day. With treatment for gonorrhea lasting 30 days and syphilis taking six months, this severely affected the number of servicemen on hand. As a result, 1930s and 1940s propaganda urged prevention as well as treatment, playing on men's senses of duty, masculinity, patriotism, and intelligence in the process.

Women were villainized, and men were shamed, but, overall, disease rates decreased exponentially during WWII. So, give the Allies another victory along with that shot of penicillin.