The sulfonamides constitute an important class of drugs, with several types of pharmacological agents possessing antibacterial, anti-carbonic anhydrase, diuretic, hypoglycemic, antithyroid and anticancer activity among others. A large number of structurally novel sulfonamide derivatives have ultimately been reported to show substantial antiviral activity in vitro and in vivo. The review summarizes recent classes of sulfonamides and related sulfonyl derivatives disclosed as effective such agents. Thus, at least some HIV protease inhibitors used clinically (amprenavir) or compounds in advanced clinical trials (tipranavir, TMC- 126, TMC-114, etc.) possess sulfonamide moieties in their molecules, whereas a very large number of other derivatives are constantly being synthesized and evaluated in order to obtain compounds with less toxicity or activity against drug-resistant viruses. Several non nucleoside HIV reverse transcriptase or HIV integrase inhibitors containing sulfonamido groups were also reported. Another approach to inhibit the growth of retroviruses, including HIV, targets the ejection of zinc ions from critical zinc finger viral proteins, which has as a consequence the inhibition of viral replication in the absence of mutations leading to drug resistance phenotypes. Most compounds with antiviral activity possessing this mechanism of action incorporate in their molecules primary sulfonamide groups. Finally, some small molecule chemokine antagonists acting as HIV entry inhibitors also possess sulfonamide functionalities in their scaffold.