Knowledge and Awareness of Sickle Cell Trait Among Young African American Adults

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Sickle cell trait (SCT) places individuals at risk of passing an abnormal hemoglobin gene to biological children and is associated with rare but serious complications. The present study sought to examine knowledge of SCT and awareness of personal trait status among 258 young African American adults. Participants were surveyed regarding demographics, medical history, and sources of sickle cell information before completing a trait knowledge questionnaire. Overall, participants possessed significant misinformation about the condition. Women and those who had learned about sickle cell from families displayed higher levels of knowledge. Most participants were uncertain of personal trait status, and many did not wish to be informed of it. Health care providers should be alert that individuals with SCT may be unaware of their condition and potential reproductive and health implications. Screening and reporting procedures should be examined to ensure individuals have access to and control of this vital health information.

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