Item:
ONJR22HGF047

Original WWII U.S. Navy Issued Venereal Disease Pamphlet, “The Story of Old Joe”, and Three Issue Prophylactics

Item Description

Original Items: Only Ones Available. This is a unique lot of items which was recently uncovered in a lot of items which were issued to a U.S. Navy Sailor during WWII. Unfortunately the rest of the lot was split up, but at least we fortunate enough to secure these items, all relating to Sex Hygiene and the unseen force that has the capacity to devastate any military force: Venereal Disease!

The lot includes the following:

The Story of Old Joe”. This U.S. Navy published booklet contains the tale of a WWI Navy Veteran who had just a little too much fun while on shore leave and subsequently contracted syphilis. Joe, sadly, did not used his issued Prophylaxis, nor did he follow his medical orderlies advise to continue treatment. Now, Joe, at the ripe age of 44 appears to be 60 years of age. He has given his family syphilis, and his world as he knows it is falling apart. The booklet is marked “NAVMED VD-4, BUREAU OF MEDICINE AND SURGERY/ NAVY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.

Two “Texide” Brand (Prophylactics) Condoms, each sealed in their original foil/cellophane wrappers. Manufactured by the L.E. Shunk Latex Products Company of Akron, Ohio.

One Condom in its original paper wrapper

This is a great set to add to the WWII collection that has everything! WWII U.S. Army VD booklets are much easier to come by. This is a great opportunity to obtain a seldom-found Navy Issued booklet!

Venereal Disease and the U.S. Military During WWII:

The outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases in World War II brought interest in sex education to the public and the government. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, military maneuvers increased worldwide and sexual hygiene and conduct became major problems for the troops. Soldiers and sailors on assignment overseas were often lonely, had time to spare, got homesick, or were just looking for female companionship. This resulted in many men having multiple sex partners, and as a result, became a major health concern. During the Great War, venereal diseases (V.D.) had caused the United States Army to lose 18,000 servicemen per day. Although by 1944 this number had been reduced 30-fold, there were still around 606 servicemen incapacitated daily. This drop in numbers was partly because of the Army's effort to raise awareness about the dangers faced by servicemen through poor sexual hygiene, and also because of the important developments in medicine. In late 1943 a case of gonorrhea required a hospital treatment of 30 days, and curing syphilis remained a 6-month ordeal. By mid-1944, the average case of gonorrhea was reduced to 5 days, and in many cases the patient remained on duty while being treated.

In World War II venereal disease was a serious problem for the US Army and Navy. In some hospitals one out of eight men had contracted some form of venereal disease. Two of the worst venereal diseases known to the Medical Department during the Second World War were gonorrhea and syphilis. Consequently the majority of treatment and awareness programs had great emphasis on these two infections in particular.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can cause long-term complications and/or death if not treated correctly. Symptoms in adults are divided into stages. These stages are primary, secondary, latent, and late syphilis. Syphilis has been called "the great imitator" because it has so many possible symptoms, many of which look like symptoms from other diseases. The painless syphilis sore that the soldier or sailor would get after they were first infected can be confused for an ingrown hair, zipper cut, or other seemingly harmless bump. The non-itchy body rash that develops during the second stage of syphilis can show up on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, all over the body, or in just a few places. Men can be infected with syphilis and have very mild symptoms or none at all.

Also called the "clap" or "drip," gonorrhea is a contagious disease transmitted most often through sexual contact with an infected person. It can also be spread by contact with infected bodily fluids, so both men and women are susceptible. The infection spreads most often among people who have many sex partners.

During the war, medics were generally supplied with prophylactic kits in bulk, designed to allow a man to perform treatment on himself if he feared he had sex with an infected woman. The individual packet contained a tube containing 5 grams of ointment (30% calomel + 15% sulfathiazole), a direction sheet explaining how to apply the ointment, a soap impregnated cloth and cleansing tissue. Sometimes the men were issued condoms (usually three to a pack) and sometimes they were given Sulfonamide (sulfa drugs) or other pills to carry "just in case."

The U.S. Military highly encouraged the men to use condoms during sexual intercourse, concerned that servicemen would bring home diseases and infect their wives. Government training films urged soldiers, "Don't forget - put it on before you put it in."

The military struggled greatly with determining the true rates of venereal disease among the troops. According to the U.S. Army Medical Department's Office of Medical History, many soldiers already had V.D. before enlisting, but were counted as a new infection when they were treated by medical personnel, increasing the officially recorded rate of V.D. Additionally, some soldiers were transferred between hospitals during treatment, but were counted as a new infection when they arrived at the new hospital, further increasing the V.D. rate. The V.D. rate was artificially lowered by medical staff who treated patients without recording it. This was done mostly at the request of the troops, who feared punishment for contracting V.D. Throughout the war, officers had a noticeably lower recorded rate of V.D. The Army believes that this was because officers were able to get medical treatment from Army medical personnel, and then pressure them into not recording the incident.

Despite these issues, the Army concluded that the lowest rates of V.D. occurred in 1943, then rose throughout 1944 and 1945, and again increased markedly after the cessation of hostilities. Despite the raise in V.D. throughout the war, personnel noneffectiveness due to V.D. decreased, likely due to better treatment.

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