AbstractThe history of sexually transmitted diseases in Canada from 1800 to the present reflects the changing views and values of citizens, medical experts, politicians and bureaucrats. During the colonial period, the military devoted attention to the problem but strict moral codes and social conventions prevented public discussion. Although middle class reformers began to pressure the federal government for funding and direction after 1900, World War I was the catalyst for involvement. Health education through a voluntary group and federal-provincial cost-shared funding for treatment facilities across Canada were introduced to control STDs. Public perception of STD patients as marginalised or deviant limited the impact of these efforts. Social changes during the 1960s, new STDs appearing in the 1970s and the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s have redirected the STD campaign to focus on high risk groups and prevention rather than the moralistic curative efforts of the past.