The president of the International AIDS Society says her organization will re-evaluate how it organizes international conferences as a result of visa denials by the Canadian government.

Adeeba Kamarulzaman told attendees at the opening ceremony of the AIDS 2022 conference Friday morning in Montreal that "many" delegates, including staff members and leadership of her organization, were unable to get visas to attend.

A group of protesters took the stage during the opening ceremony, condemning the visa denials and inequalities in the global response to HIV.

International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan had been scheduled to speak at the conference opening but cancelled his appearance.

His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The conference, which draws researchers, medical practitioners, activists and people living with HIV, focuses both on the scientific progress in the fight against AIDS and the need for increased funding for HIV response.

More than 9,000 delegates are expected to attend in person, and another 2,000 are registered to participate remotely.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2022.