https://www.nature.com/articles Open access Jungang Chen, Maryam Foroozesh & Zhiqiang Qin Abstract Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), viral-associated sequences, are normal components of the human genome and account for 8–9% of our genome. These original provirus sequences can be transactivated to produce functional products. Several reactivated HERVs have been implicated in cancers and autoimmune diseases. An emerging body of literature supports a potential role of reactivated HERVs in viral diseases, in particular viral-associated neoplasms. Demystifying studies on the mechanism(s) of HERV reactivation could provide a new framework for the development of treatment and prevention strategies targeting virus-associated tumors. Although available data suggest that co-infection by other viruses, such as Kaposi’s Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), may be a crucial driving force to transactivate HERV boom, the mechanisms of action of viral infection-induced HERV transactivation and the contributions of HERVs to viral oncogenesis warrant further studies. Here, we review viral co-infection contributes to HERVs transactivation with focus on human viral infection associated oncogenesis and diseases, including the abilities of viral regulators involved in HERV reactivation, and physiological effects of viral infection response on HERV reactivation.