Stepped Care Model for Sexual Health

Stepped Care Model for Sexual Health

“Having the right information and service in the right place, at the right time delivered by the right digital solution or person.” That is what Stepped Care is about.

This year, Stepped Care – a disruptive sexual health model created by our organisation, with over 10 years of success in the Netherlands – has expanded to South Africa and Kenya.

Why a stepped care model?

Everybody is different. So young people have different kinds of issues, problems and information needs when it comes to sexual and reproductive health. Some may be helped by reading a self-help online article, watching an instructional video, or taking an online risk assessment. Others could benefit from a phone-call with a peer-support group or online chat with a health professional. Still others may a physical examination or long-term treatment from a licensed doctor.

At least 400 million young people globally lack access to important health information and services and by 2030 an estimated shortage of 18 million health professionals is anticipated. Only a few countries have a health system that is matched to young people’s health needs. At the same time digital innovations are transforming how young people interact with health systems. Therefore, innovative models that go beyond the traditional health sector response are necessary.


Stepped Care has potential to expand provision of good quality HIV prevention and care more widely into areas of public health care, SRH and HIV services

- WHO Technical expert

What is Stepped Care about?

The innovative Stepped Care Model for Sexual Health is a consumer centered framework that stimulates self-care. It organises online and offline information, digital and physical health services from the least to the most intensive. Through stepped care, young people seeking support are connected to the services that directly meet their needs. When their needs change, the services change with them. This way the model optimises efficiency and quality of health care with an increase in health outcomes of young people as a result.


The Stepped Care Model provides a good perspective on how digital interventions can be integrated into the physical space. It opens many opportunities I haven’t seen before.

– Director of Preakelt

8 ways how Stepped Care changes sexual and reproductive health for young people

  1. Increases access to SRHR information, education and services for (marginalized) youth

  2. Empowers young people through self-care

  3. Lowers burden on the health care system

  4. Reduces cost and more efficient use of health care services and resources

  5. Reduces health disparities and increased equity

  6. Integrates new technologies into health systems

  7. Decreases the fragmentation of youth programs and digital solutions

  8. Increases cross-sectoral collaboration among donors, government, CSOs and private to increase scale, impact and sustainability of youth programs

Built on 10 years of success – time to scale

Soa Aids Nederland has built up the Stepped Care Model in the Netherlands around youth-brand Sense. This brand provides all youth-friendly online and offline information and education, advice and primary and secondary care in SRHR and HIV/AIDS to all young people in the Netherlands. Soa Aids Nederland is part of the organisation Aidsfonds - Soa Aids Nederland. Building upon 10 years of experience from Sense in the Netherlands, Aidsfonds has taken the initiative to scale the model internationally. Currently we are contextualizing Stepped Care in Kenya and South-Africa.

In South-Africa, led by the National Department of Health and Aidsfonds, a strategic partnership has been established. It brings together key international and local NGOs and financial institutions under one strategy and youth brand B-wise. Key partners include Clinton Health Access Initiative, World Health Organization, Wits RHI, AVAC, MTV Shuga, UNITAID, Gates foundation, and more are joining the initiative. uses cookies to offer the best website experience possible and to anonymously analyze website behaviour. More information.