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April 1988

Severe Allergic Contact Dermatitis From Dinitrochlorobenzene in a Patient With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Author Affiliations

Denver Disease Control Service Denver Department of Health and Hospitals Denver, CO 80204

Arch Dermatol. 1988;124(4):490-491. doi:10.1001/archderm.1988.01670040010006

To the Editor.—  Dinitrochlorobenzene (2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene) is a strong contact allergen, to which 95% of normal individuals can be sensitized. It has been used as a test for cellular immunity in patients with neoplastic and immunologic disorders, and also for the treatment of alopecia areata and persistent verruca vulgaris. However, since dinitrochlorobenzene has been shown to have potentially carcinogenic effects, the use of dinitrochlorobenzene in these relatively benign disorders has been a source of debate.1 Recently, the use of dinitrochlorobenzene has gained popularity as an "alternative" treatment in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Use of dinitrochlorobenzene has been promulgated through the gay press, based on the theory that its delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction activates the immune system, resulting in an increased number of T4 cells and elevation of T4/T8 ratios (San Francisco Sentinel, Sept 26, 1986, pp 9, 11). We describe a patient who used dinitrochlorobenzene for this purpose and