Despite the body of evidence on heterosexual men’s inequitable access to HIV prevention, testing and antiretroviral therapy (ART), and poorer viral suppression in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), public health responses to address this gap remain surprisingly sparse. Gender stereotypes prevail, implicitly blaming men for infecting women with HIV, and for their own health outcomes due to “poorer health-seeking behaviour”. These generalizations about men come at a cost, as neither men nor women benefit when men are portrayed largely as vectors of disease, and when the health needs of women and men are seen as competing rather than complementary. Recent evidence suggests that men care about their health and will participate in HIV prevention, testing and treatment programmes when these are appropriately targeted. This viewpoint argues for a reframing of the approach to heterosexual men in the HIV epidemic in SSA.