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December 25, 1972

Mass Screening Programs For Sickle Hemoglobin: A Sickle Cell Crisis

JAMA. 1972;222(13):1650. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210130042017

To the Editor.—  The recent public interest in sickle cell anemia has produced a profusion of spurious sickle cell information by community, social, fraternal, civil rights and black nationalist groups, schools, large business interests, sickle cell anemia foundations, politicians, and by health care workers. Consequently, ill-advised mandatory sickle cell screening laws have been passed1; persons with sickle cell trait (HbAS) have been barred from sports by physicians, denied employment, and discharged from jobs; misguided attempts are in progress to defer persons with HbAS from the Armed Forces; children and parents are frantic. Now, an EDITORIAL in The Journal (221:500, 1972).First, it equates sickle cell trait with sickle cell disease and employs this faulty classification as a rationale for mass sickle cell screening in black communities. Thus, more than 2 million Afro-Americans who have sickle cell trait, and whose life expectancy is comparable to persons who do not have hemoglobin