ATLANTA Couples getting married could learn if their future spouse has sickle cell anemia under legislation Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law Friday.
House Bill 184 by Rep. Gloria Frazier, D-Hephzibah, means everyone getting married would get information on the importance of a blood test for the disease and recommending it when they see a probate judge for a marriage license. The Department of Human Resources will have to prepare the brochure for the judges to distribute.
Blood tests are required before a license can be issued which screens for venereal diseases. The sickle-cell test would be voluntary.
Sickle cell is an inherited condition common to people whose ancestors lived in tropical climates. Experts believe it helps people in those areas avoid the affects of malaria, but the condition also has the side effect of causing anemia which leads to long-term pain and fatigue.
The incurable disease affects millions of people worldwide, according to the National Institute of Health.