Launching to end Sickle Cell 101’s yearly Summer Sickle Cell Trait Awareness Campaign while continuing to celebrate Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September, the collaboration will include offering the 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service for free to eligible participants who are 18 years or older, and have African ancestry or ancestry from a region where sickle cell disease is common. In addition, participants will have access to Sickle Cell 101’s online education tools and team of experts and certified sickle cell educators.
About one in 13 African Americans have the sickle cell trait, and many are unaware that they are carriers. Historically, access to affordable and reliable genotype testing hasn’t been readily available to this community which is disproportionately impacted by sickle cell. All of which have resulted in most people unaware of their sickle cell carrier status and understanding how that can impact their family planning decision making or their health in certain cases.
“At Sickle Cell 101 our holistic approach to advocacy includes prioritizing both sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait awareness. While our primary focus is deservingly on educating and advocating for improved funding, care and treatment options for sickle cell disease, this collaboration with 23andMe reinforces our commitment to also addressing a historical healthcare disparity that has deprioritized access to testing and reliable information to the community most impacted by sickle cell” said Dr. Stephen Boateng, Vice President of Partnerships and Scientific Collaborations at Sickle Cell 101. “The progress we want to see for sickle cell disease will always be short-changed unless we also address the testing and educational gaps on sickle cell trait” concludes Dr. Boateng.
“This project builds on what we’re already doing at 23andMe,” said Joyce Tung, PhD, 23andMe’s Vice President of Research. “We have research projects underway, as well as an ongoing awareness campaign, focused on sickle cell. Partnering with Sickle Cell 101 will allow us to expand that effort to more people. 23andMe is about empowering people through access to their genetic data to make more informed health decisions, and that is exactly what this program offers.”
Through this collaboration, 23andMe will offer its Health + Ancestry Service free to a limited number of eligible participants* who are 18 years or older, and have African ancestry or ancestry from a region where sickle cell disease is common†
Visit sc101.org/yourgenotype to request a free 23andMe testing kit to learn your genotype.