Recent studies have demonstrated that histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors (HDACi) have potential immunomodulatory activity since they affect the immune surveillance by regulating the production of cytokines, alter the activity and function of macrophages and dendritic cells (DC), regulate the transcription of a variety of immune-stimulating genes, and can modulate the activity of immune effector cells of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Besides their immunostimulatory activity, HDACi can induce growth arrest and cell death, and modulate a subset of cellular functions such as cell motility or differentiation. This makes HDACi interesting therapeutic candidates for the treatment of a variety of human diseases like cancer, autoimmune, and graft versus host diseases. Besides these, HDACs have been shown to be involved in virus replication and pathogenesis, and it was recently shown that HDACi provide therapeutic effects in the treatment of oncogenic virus infections and associated malignancies. This review will further give information about the different families of HDACs and their opponents, the histone acetylases (HATs), about the classes and function of specific HDACi, and their use in the treatment of human diseases.