From this article about the history of the condom, some pre-condom efforts at venereal disease prevention that I hadn’t heard about before:

In 1905, in an effort to combat common infections like gonorrhea and syphilis, the Navy implemented the first trial system of chemical prophylaxis dispensed by staff doctors. Though the treatment was strictly post-intercourse, its results impressed Navy brass enough that the procedure became standard on all ships by 1909. However, one of the system’s major flaws was its dependence on self-reporting to a doctor, so the following year prophylactic kits or “pro-kits,” were distributed to soldiers for self administration. This was highly preferred to an exam, and though still painful, the pro-kits protected many recruits from being court martialed for contracting VD.

post-sex prophylactic goop

During World War I, American soldiers weren’t issued condoms; instead they were given a “Dough Boy Prophylactic Kit.” The idea behind these kits was that soldiers who “went out on a weekend furlough and had sexual contact would then clean themselves up afterwards with antiseptics and urethral syringes and so forth.” Edmonson points out that this method was like “closing the gate after the horse is out of the barn; not very effective.”

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