Antiretroviral therapy (ART) potently suppresses HIV-1 replication, but the virus persists in quiescent infected CD4(+)T cells as a latent integrated provirus, and patients must indefinitely remain on therapy. If ART is terminated, these integrated proviruses can reactivate, driving new rounds of infection. A functional cure for HIV requires eliminating low-level ongoing viral replication that persists in certain tissue sanctuaries and preventing viral reactivation. The HIV Tat protein plays an essential role in HIV transcription by recruiting the kinase activity of the P-TEFb complex to the viral mRNA's stem-bulge-loop structure, TAR, activating transcriptional elongation. Because the Tat-mediated transactivation cascade is critical for robust HIV replication, the Tat/TAR/P-TEFb complex is one of the most attractive targets for drug development. Importantly, compounds that interfere with transcription could impair viral reactivation, low-level ongoing replication, and replenishment of the latent reservoir, thereby reducing the size of the latent reservoir pool. Here, we discuss the potential importance of transcriptional inhibitors in the treatment of latent HIV-1 disease and review recent findings on targeting Tat, TAR, and P-TEFb individually or as part of a complex. Finally, we discuss the impact of extracellular Tat in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders and cancers.