Venereal Disease Visual History Archive

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This film begins with the story of a young Italian-American couple whose baby is stillborn due to syphilis. It also tells the story of a young man who contracts the illness from a brothel. The film explains the effects of syphilis, emphasizes the…

Two older men sit having a drink. One says, "My boy was wounded in the African landing." The other man, looking disappointed, replies, "Mine was wounded in this country by a street walker."

This poster warns young men not to have causal sex because it is likely they will contract VD.

"If some 'wise guy' tells you that sexual intercourse is not dangerous, the facts are: A girl who would yield to one man has probably had relations…

This chart shows the results of an epidemiological investigation of cases of syphilis.

"A physician in a middlewestern city asked the State Health Department to trace the source of infection in 3 cases of newly acquired infectious syphilis in his…

This poster warns servicemen about prostitutes and encourages continence.

This infographic shows the different ways to prevent prostitution.

This pictorial statistic shows how syphilis spreads between different people. It uses the spirochete symbol to indicate individuals' status. It is modeled after an epidemiological image from the early 1930s. Here, the image is presented without many…

This poster shows the Axis leaders congratulating a prostitute for spreading VD. Below them, the venereal ward is full.

This poster shows a serviceman at a bar being approached by a woman. It implies that the woman is a prostitute who will spread disease.

"Use a Prophylactic: Go to a Prophylactic Station"

This poster shows a woman calling a serviceman into her room from off the street. A poster in her room and a small Japanese figure tugging on the serviceman's leg associates the woman with the…

"I'll show you a good time --for a price £1. and Syphilis"

This poster features a woman smoking. The text connects her with syphilis.

"A Toast to Hitler and Hirohito"

A prostitute in heavy makeup toasts a glass of champagne labeled "venereal diseases." The poster also equates pick-ups, street walkers, and prostitutes with the Axis.

"Prophylaxis Prevents Venereal Disease!"This poster features cartoons of the Axis leaders as syphilis, gonorrhea, and chanchroid. Two hold syringes and one holds a woman in lingere with a skull and crossbones.

"The army can protect you against many diseases...it can't keep you from getting a venereal disease Unless you--Pro"

This poster warns servicemen that they can get VD from any sexual partner, not just prostitutes. It also advises them to use…

"Avoid exposure : Avoid pickups and prostitutes : If exposed, use prophylaxis : If infected, see a medical officer"

"Outbreak of syphilis infections in a rural county : Monroe County, Tennessee"

This is an epidemiological chart that shows how one syphilis epidemic spread. This image was created earlier in the 1930s. Here it appears with a new heading.

This cartoon warns that women with venereal disease are threats to military men. Two women are shown waiting on a corner, smoking. They are labeled "gonorrhea" and "syphilis." A sign shows that military bases are nearby.

"Learn to protect yourself NOW"

This poster warns that VD is prevalent and viewers should learn how to protect themselves. It features the image of a woman in a red dress.

This poster conveys that prostitution spreads venereal disease to servicemen. A soldier is labeled "The Young, The Brave, The Strong." The woman speaking is labeled prostitution. Behind her stand two female figures with skeletal faces identified as…

"Pick-ups : 'Good Time' Girls : Prostitutes : Spread Syphilis and Gonorrhea : You can't beat the Axis if you get VD."
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