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The World War II battle against STDs

What happens when you mix venereal disease and global war?

Phil Edwards is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

Venereal disease has long been an issue for militaries, but during World War II, the problem became bigger and more global. As the above video shows, that required unusual tactics and unorthodox strategies to beat syphilis and gonorrhea during the war.

Starting with Bousbir in Casablanca, this video is a tour of the uneasy relationship the military had with prostitution, recreational sex, and the venereal diseases that soldiers contracted. Both in America and around the world, it was a significant problem that resulted in health troubles and days lost on the battlefield. It also challenges how we think about the war even today.

This piece uses numerous sources, but the most useful resource might be the historical details found in this history of medicine during the war.

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