Men with urethral discharge

Export Indicator

Number of men reporting urethral discharge in the past 12 months
What it measures

Burden of sexually transmitted infections in men.


Urethral discharge among men is commonly caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Chlamydia trachomatis. Characteristically, men with urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) present with urethral discharge with or without dysuria (pain on urination). Untreated urethral discharge can result in infertility and facilitate HIV transmission and acquisition.

Data on urethral discharge provide information on burden of sexually transmitted infections in men and provide a marker of unprotected sex. Monitoring urethral discharge is critical as a proxy for the burden of gonorrhoea. N. gonorrhoeae has shown increasing resistance to recommended treatment options and may render this infection untreatable.


Number of men reported with urethral discharge during the reporting period


Number of men aged ≥15 years



Method of measurement

Routine health information systems

Measurement frequency




Additional information requested

Countries are requested to communicate the extent to which the data reported are representative of the national population and advise on how this would impact on interpretation of the data.

Strengths and weaknesses

Although WHO has provided a global case definition, the actual case definition may vary between and within countries. Data on the number of men with urethral discharge and trends over time provide a proxy measure for incident cases of sexually transmitted infections in a population.

Data on vaginal discharge among women, although useful for monitoring purposes at the local and national levels, are not requested at the global level because, in many settings, sexually transmitted infections do not cause most cases of vaginal discharge. In many countries, this indicator is not routinely collected from all health facilities.

Countries should periodically assess the causes of urethral discharge syndrome to understand the aetiology and patterns of antimicrobial resistance to inform appropriate treatment guidelines

Further information

Guidelines for the management of symptomatic sexually transmitted infections. Geneva: World Health Organization. 2021 (, accessed 6 November 2023).

Strategies and laboratory methods for strengthening surveillance of sexually transmitted infection 2012. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2012 (, accessed 6 November 2023).