Sense – Stepped Care in the Netherlands

Sense is the Dutch national brand for young people’s sexual health information and services, including prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Established in 2009 and continuously improving and expanding since, Sense applies the Stepped Care Model.

Dutch brand Sense consists of:
Step 1: provides all kinds of SRHR and HIV information. This step has the highest reach and the lowest costs for easy-to-address needs of young people
Step 2: is an innovative chat bot providing automated personal advice regarding STI and HIV testing including referrals to health services nearby
Step 3: Sense helpline provides personal advice by Soa Aids Nederland professionals and those of regional health services
Step 4 and 5: Health professionals and medical doctors provide care for the most complex needs of young people across the Netherlands

Time frame

2009 - ongoing


Young people




Soa Aids Nederland as part of Aidsfonds – Soa Aids Nederland pioneers when it comes to digital health solutions. Over 10 years ago a first initiative was taken to develop Sense. At that time Public Health Services, Rutgers and Soa Aids Nederland ran separate initiatives regarding reliable SRHR information for young people while having a shared ambition. A joint collaboration resulted in the first edition of the Sense website launched in 2009.

When the already existing helpline, that had been initiated by Soa Aids Nederland, was about to shut down in 2012 due to lack of resources, it was decided to add this service to the Sense brand. A logical step as the collaboration was already there, and a national helpline would be more effective than multiple regional helplines of Public Health Services. Hence Stepped Care was born.

Other steps in the model were added over the years: serious games in 2013, Partnerwaarschuwing (Warn your sex partners) in 2014, Sense Online Coach in 2016 and Advies-chat in 2017.

One of the key lessons derived from the development of Sense is that together we stand strong. Our work is more efficient when joining hands. For instance, thanks to the collaboration and shared responsibilities, the helpline has broader opening hours.


The website is a crucial aspect of the Dutch national e-health strategy. It serves as a reliable entry point for young people in the Netherlands to prevention and care regarding the whole spectrum of sexual and reproductive health. Objectives of the website are to support young people to:
– have pleasure-based sex
– get to know their body
– develop their sexual identity
– prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancies
– prevent crossing of sexual boundaries


Period: 2020

The Stepped Care Model

The Stepped Care model for sexual and reproductive health provides a non-judgmental approach that is pLogo Stepped Careerson-centred and responsive to the needs of young people, at the lowest possible cost.

It is a robust digital health ecosystem facilitating collaboration among stakeholders and integrating online and offline services for young people. Services that are non-judgmental and support all young people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability. Delivered just the way young people like it.


Discover the Stepped Care Model


Building upon more than 10 years of expertise of Stepped Care in the Netherlands with youth brand Sense, more brands are currently implemented internationally: Vibrações in Mozambique, B-wise in South Africa, One2One in Kenya, and Tanya Marlo in Indonesia.


Partner with us!

Aidsfonds is interested in working together to further strengthen community leadership, increase HIV prevention choices, and improve treatment outcomes and quality of life of people living with or exposed to HIV. We want to talk to anyone who shares our dream and wants to join us on a journey toward a world free of AIDS.

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