Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) can effectively suppress the replication of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and block disease progression. However, chronic HIV-1 infection remains incurable due to the persistence of a viral reservoir, including the transcriptionally silent provirus in CD4(+) memory T cells and the sanctuary sites that are inaccessible to drugs. Reactivation and the subsequent elimination of latent virus through virus-specific cytotoxic effects or host immune responses are critical strategies for combating the disease. Indeed, a number of latency reactivating reagents have been identified through mechanism-directed approaches and large-scale screening, including: (1) histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi); (2) cytokines and chemokines; (3) DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTI); (4) histone methyltransferase inhibitors (HMTI); (5) protein kinase C (PKC) activators; (6) P-TEFb activators; and (7) unclassified agents, such as disulfram. They have proved to be efficacious in latent cell line models and CD4(+) T lymphocytes from HIV-1-infected patients. This review comprehensively summarizes the recent progress and relative challenges in this field.