Sense - Stepped Care in the Netherlands

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, Sense applies the Stepped Care Model.

Project details

Time frame
01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018
€ 153,316
Active in


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

Infographic pageviews per objective

Community groups

Young people in the Netherlands


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 a 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.

Logo Sense

Sense - Stepped Care in the Netherlands

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

Map of the Netherlands with health services indicated Map of the Netherlands with health services indicated

The Stepped Care Model

The stepped care model for sexual health encourages collaboration between all stakeholders, counteracting fragmentation so to offer all kinds of SRHR services and information tailored to young people's very different needs. A website refers them to additional online and offline services tailored to their needs. If necessary, visitors are referred to services with more human contact, e.g. via chat services, helplines and ultimately personal services with health and medical professionals.

This is not only more effective, it also makes it easier to offer high quality by providing age-appropriate and engaging information on sexual education and health, and at lower cost.

Infographic stepped care model Infographic stepped care model

Contextualizing Stepped Care internationally

With 10 years of success with Sense in the Netherlands, we are currently contextualizing Stepped Care internationally in Kenya with youth brand One2One, South Africa with B-wise and Mozambique with Vibrações.

Logos One2one and B-wise Logos One2one and B-wise

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