Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the major causes of cancer-related mortality worldwide, with the majority of cases associated with persistent hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus infection. In particular, chronic HBV infection is a predominant risk factor for the development of HCC in Asian and African populations. Hepatic resection, liver transplantion and radiofrequency ablation are increasingly used for the curative treatment of HCC, however, the survival rate of HCC patients who have undergone curative resection remains unsatisfactory due to the high recurrence rate. HCC is a complex disease that is typically resistant to the most commonly used types of chemotherapy and radiotherapy; therefore, the development of novel treatment strategies is required to improve the survival rate of this disease. A high viral load of HBV DNA is the most important correctable risk factor for HCC recurrence, for example nucleos(t)ide analogs improve the outcome following curative resection of HBV-associated HCC, and interferon-α exhibits antitumor activity against various types of cancer via direct inhibitory effects on tumor cells, anti-angiogenesis, enhanced immunogenicity of tumors, immunomodulatory effects and liver dysfunction. In the present review, antiviral treatment for HBV-associated HCC is described as a strategy to reduce recurrence and improve survival.